The company that owns Staples Center and is the driving force behind an effort to build a professional football stadium in downtown Los Angeles announced on Tuesday it is being put up for sale.
It wasn't immediately clear how far along the company is in the sale process, or whether it has entertained any offers, but the price for AEG could be well into the billions.
And the sale would mean a major ground shift in sports and entertainment in Los Angeles and around the world.
Anschutz Entertainment Group, a subsidiary of the Anschutz Co. owned by Denver billionaire Philip Anschutz, also owns the Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings and Major League Soccer champion Los Angeles Galaxy and has a stake in the Los Angeles Lakers. It also owns the L.A. Live entertainment complex in downtown Los Angeles and the O2 arena in London.
“Given the success of the management team and employees in establishing AEG as one of the premier real estate development, live sports and entertainment platforms in the world, as well as the value AEG has created with the strategic assets that comprise its platform, this is an appropriate time to transition AEG to a new qualified owner,” said Cannon Y. Harvey, president of the Anschutz Co.
“This process represents a unique opportunity to maximize value for all concerned and will allow us to assure that, like the Anschutz Co., the new owner will have the financial resources, commitment and vision to support AEG's management team as it continues to grow the business of AEG and the power of its brands,” he said.
Harvey said the sale process would not disrupt AEG's day-to-day operations.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa issued a statement saying he was confident the sale would not disrupt the pending plan to build a football stadium adjacent to Staples Center and lure an NFL franchise to the city.
“I have worked with both Philip Anschutz and (AEG President) Tim Leiweke for years to bring a football team to Los Angeles,” Villaraigosa said. “I speak to both of them on a regular basis and I have known about this potential sale for some time.
“I have the commitment from both of them that this sale will not affect plans for an NFL team to return to Los Angeles and in the near future and will not affect my support for moving ahead with Farmers Field and the Convention Center site.”
Leiweke said the new owner “will have the historic opportunity to benefit from AEG's strategy to reunite Los Angeles with the NFL, as AEG moves forward with its efforts to bring an NFL franchise to Farmers Field to be built at L.A. Live.”
Councilwoman Jan Perry, whose district includes the proposed stadium site, said she did not know about a pending sale but agreed that it wouldn't have adverse effects on courting an NFL team.
“The city has done a good job of protecting the taxpayer's interest in negotiating an agreement,” Perry told The Associated Press, “so whoever steps into the shoes of Mr. Anschutz will have the same obligations.”
Perry said the move “arguably is very positive” because she suspected it could lead to an enthusiastic new partner anxious to get in on the city's NFL prospects.