L.A. officials react to news of AEG being put up for sale
AEG, the company that owns the Staples Center and the Los Angeles Kings, is being put up for sale, sparking what could be a billion-dollar bidding war that Los Angeles officials say won’t affect plans to draw an NFL team to the city.
Late Tuesday, the Anschutz Co., run by Denver billionaire Philip Anschutz, announced it is selling its AEG subsidiary, which also has stakes in the L.A. Live entertainment venue in downtown Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Kings professional hockey team and the Los Angeles Galaxy pro soccer team.
“I have worked with both Phil Anschutz and Tim Leiweke for years to bring a football team to Los Angeles,” said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. “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 won’t affect plans for an NFL team to return to Los Angeles in the near future and so will not affect my support for moving ahead with Farmers Field and the convention center site.”
Councilwoman Jan Perry, whose district includes L.A. Live and the proposed NFL stadium, said taxpayer interests would be “well-protected” in the event of a sale.
“Whoever steps into the shoes of the previous owner would have to fulfill all the responsibilities and obligations as the current owner,” Perry said. “The city has been well-negotiated and well-protected.”
The City Council is due to vote Sept. 28 on a set of financial agreements for the 72,000-seat stadium and a related $315-million renovation of the adjacent convention center.
As of Tuesday, it was unclear how far along the process is or whether any likely buyers have emerged.
If a deal goes through, it would mark the second blockbuster sports transaction in Southern California this year, following the $2.15-billion purchase of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team by Guggenheim Baseball Management. That was a world-record price for a sports franchise.
“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, Anschutz Co. president.
The AEG unit is pursuing plans to build a professional football stadium next to the Staples Center in hopes that it would serve as the future home of an NFL team.
Times staff writers David Zahniser and Kate Linthicum contributed to this report.
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