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Philip Anschutz set to sell Lakers shares to two of the Dodgers’ owners

The Lakers' LeBron James handles the ball June 3 during Game 6 of the team's first-round playoff series.
The Lakers’ LeBron James handles the ball June 3 during Game 6 of the team’s first-round playoff series against the Phoenix Suns.
(Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

The Los Angeles Lakers and the Dodgers have long shared the marquee across the city’s sports landscape. Now, they’ll share even more.

Two members of the Dodgers ownership group, chairman Mark Walter and co-owner Todd Boehly, are buying the largest minority ownership stake in the Lakers from AEG founder Phillip Anschutz, sources told The Times on Saturday.

The Lakers declined to comment with the sale still not completed.

The deal needs approval from the NBA’s Board of Governors, the league’s other owners, before it can be made official. That vote can be conducted remotely, a source said.

Jason Kidd is reportedly returning to Dallas, this time to replace the coach he won a championship with as a point guard 10 years ago.

As part of the deal, Walter and Boehly will have the right of first refusal should Jeanie Buss and the Buss family decide to sell the Lakers. Sportico, whichfirst reported on the sale, said the Lakers were valued at $5 billion during the deal.

AEG chief executive Dan Beckerman told Sportico that the Lakers shares sale “is part of some financial planning and redeployment of capital to other AEG projects and growth initiatives.”

Beckerman didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

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Times owner Patrick Soon-Shiong is also a minority owner of the Lakers, owning less than 5% of the team’s shares.

Anschutz upped his investment in the Lakers in 2001, two years after the team moved into his building, Staples Center, in downtown Los Angeles. The Lakers last month agreed to extend their lease at Staples Center until 2041, assuring the team’s partnership with AEG and Anschutz would continue despite the sale of his shares.

As part of the lease agreement, “nine figures” worth of improvements to the building have been pledged. Staples Center is scheduled to lose one lessee, the Clippers, when the team moves to its own privately financed building in Inglewood in 2024.

A source told The Times that Anschutz’s sale of his Lakers shares will not affect his ownership of the Kings or Galaxy.

Since the Walter-led Guggenheim Baseball Management group purchased the Dodgers in 2012, he and his partners have been rumored to be actively shopping for more sports property in the city. When AEG was up for sale in 2012, Walter and Boehly were considered strong contenders as buyers before Anschutz decided not to sell.

Since buying the Dodgers from Frank McCourt for $2 billion, the team has made eight postseason appearances and three trips to the World Series, winning the championship in 2020 for the first time since 1988.

Walter, known to be relatively hidden during the season, delivered a lengthy celebration speech following the team’s win against Tampa Bay in Texas.

In addition to his role with the Dodgers, he chairs Guggenheim Partners, a financial investment company with about $315 billion of “assets under management.” Forbes estimates Walter’s worth at $4.9 billion. Boehly, also an investment manager, owns a number of assets including the early publishing rights of the band, The Killers.

Walter and Boehly are also among the owners of the Sparks.

The Dodgers and the Lakers aren’t strangers, having already been intertwined, whether through shared local TV distribution deals via Spectrum Sports or Magic Johnson’s involvement with the two franchises.

In an interview with The Times in 2012, Boehly said the investment in sports had as much to do with broadcasting rights as anything else.

“The only way to be relevant in this world, in my opinion, is to own live content that brings people together — not physically, but through networks,” Boehly said. “That type of interactivity is programming that is extremely valuable. It’s not like it’s the box talking to you. And it’s only going to get more interesting as the interactivity develops.”

Walter and Boehly’s involvement as buyers came Saturday morning, with the first news of the sale breaking late Friday night.


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