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Staples Center, meet the Greek: Merger creates world’s No. 1 venue management company, based in L.A.

Greek Theatre
The iconic Greek Theatre in Griffith Park is among the venues that will be controlled by a new entity created by the merger of AEG Facilities and SMG.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

The world’s largest venue management company will take shape in Los Angeles after a merger between the global firm that owns Staples Center and hosts the Emmys and a business that manages entertainment spaces including the Greek Theatre.

AEG Facilities, owned by Denver billionaire Philip Anschutz, will combine with Pennsylvania-based SMG to form ASM Global, a new entity owned jointly by AEG and private equity firm Onex, SMG’s parent company. ASM’s vast portfolio spans more than 300 arenas, convention centers and other venues across five continents, including Staples Center in Los Angeles and Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson.

For the record:
2:43 PM, Oct. 01, 2019 An earlier version of this story misidentified Bob Newman as former president of AEG. Newman was president of its subsidiary, AEG Facilities. The article has also been revised to clarify the nature of the transaction in which AEG acquired full ownership of AXS.

The new company will be headquartered in Los Angeles with key operations based in West Conshohocken, Pa., a suburb of Philadelphia. The company will be led by Bob Newman, who formerly served as president of AEG Facilities. Wes Westley, former CEO and president of SMG, will focus his efforts on “key strategic growth initiatives and ensuring a seamless integration,” according to a Tuesday news release.

“This is a merger of very complementary companies,” Newman said.

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He noted that AEG owns and runs venues, while SMG primarily provides management services. AEG has a large footprint in Australia, and SMG has an established presence in Britain. SMG is a premier operator of convention centers while AEG’s background is as an arena developer and operator.

“We will have this amazing global platform to serve this industry that is growing, and to focus on the live event experience,” Newman said.

The company plans some restructuring as part of the merger, but Newman said he does not anticipate layoffs at this time.

Newman started as an intern at SMG right out of graduate school in 1986 and stayed with the company for 20 years before moving to AEG, where he has worked for the last 12 years.

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AEG will retain ownership of its venues, including Staples Center and L.A. Live’s Microsoft Theater, where the Emmys have been held since 2008, but services to its facilities will be provided by the jointly owned ASM Global. AEG recently announced it would establish a regional headquarters in Singapore, underscoring its expansion aims in Asia. AEG also recently acquired all outstanding shares in AXS, a ticketing system, giving it 100% ownership.

The company has a history of supporting Olympics facilities, including at the London 2012 and Beijing 2008 Games, and will be involved in the 2028 Summer Olympics in L.A., Newman said.


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