Billionaire Anschutz may sell AEG, leaving future of Coachella, AEG Live unknownBy Reverb Staff | September 19th, 2012 | No Comments »
Denver-based Anschutz Co. said Tuesday that is pursuing a sale of its sports-and-entertainment empire, Anschutz Entertainment Group.
The AEG subsidiary, based in Los Angeles, could be valued at several billion dollars, according to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported that Anschutz is considering the sale. AEG properties and interests include No. 2 concert promoter AEG Live, the Los Angeles Kings hockey team, the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team and the Coachella music festival.
Anschutz is a holding company with a wide range of assets and investments. It is controlled by billionaire Philip Anschutz, who started in the oil and gas business and is founder of Denver-based Qwest, the telecommunications giant acquired by CenturyLink in 2011. AEG’s real estate holdings include L.A. LIVE campus anchored by the Staples Center and Nokia Theater in Los Angeles and The O2 in London.
“This is an appropriate time to transition AEG to a new qualified owner,” Anschutz president Cannon Harvey said in a statement. “This process represents a unique opportunity to maximize value for all concerned.”
Anschutz has retained as financial advisors Blackstone Advisory Partners, which recently managed the auction of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
While AEG Live has thrived in Denver since it opened offices in Anschutz’s hometown in 2006, overtaking Live Nation as the No. 1 promoter in Colorado and boosting Red Rocks Amphitheatre to the biggest and busiest season in its history in 2012, the company has also seen its share of struggles.
Its efforts locally to create a major destination music festival ended after three years of the Mile High Music Festival failed to take root and find Coachella-styled success. AEG-owned Coachella is the country’s most popular large-scale music festival.
Internationally, the company was sued by Michael Jackson’s mother, Katherine Jackson, in September 2010. Her lawsuit, expected to go to trial next year, claims the promoter didn’t properly supervise physician Conrad Murray, convicted of involuntary manslaughter for Jackson’s 2009 death.
Though entertainment has been a growing part of Anschutz’s portfolio, the company has continued to focus on more traditional assets, as well.
Anschutz recently acquired an array of assets that includes the Broadmoor hotel , the nearby Manitou & Pike’s Peak Railway Co. and the Oklahoman newspaper. That purchase also included water rights in the Greenland open space in Douglas County.
Andy Vuong is a business reporter at The Denver Post.