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What you need to know about the sale of Lakers ownership shares

Dodgers co-owner Mark Walter speaks at a lectern
Team co-owner Mark Walter speaks at a Dodgers Foundation event in 2018.
(Emma McIntyre / Getty Images)

The Dodgers and the Lakers teaming up, uniting Los Angeles’ largest sports entities? Well, it might just happen. With the pending sale of AEG mogul Philip Anschutz’s 27% stake of the Lakers to two of the Dodgers’ co-owners, sports power in this city is consolidating.

Let’s try to explain what’s going on and what it means:

What’s the gist?

Anschutz, the billionaire behind the Kings, the Galaxy and Staples Center (among much, much more) is apparently trying to raise some money for other ventures, so he sold his 27% stake in the Lakers to two of the Dodgers’ owners, Mark Walter and Todd Boehly.

Billionaire Philip Anschutz, founder of AEG and owner of Staples Center, has agreed to sell his stake in the Lakers to Mark Walter and Todd Boehly.

According to Sportico, the proposed sale happened with the Lakers being valued at $5 billion, so if you do some math, Anschutz’s stake is worth approximately $1.35 billion.

So who are Mark Walter and Todd Boehly?

Walter, according to Dodgers bio, is “an entrepreneur, investor, conservationist, and social-justice advocate.” He’s also rich (Forbes estimates his net worth at $4.9 billion) and the CEO of Guggenheim Partners, a financial investment company with about $315 billion of “assets under management.”

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All of that has kept him with a minimal day-to-day presence around the Dodgers, which he purchased with a group of partners in 2012. When he’s around, he’s got a lot to say. Remember his speech after the Dodgers won the 2020 World Series?

He also is one of the owners of the Los Angeles Sparks.

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Boehly was one of those partners who bought the Dodgers, and he founded Eldridge, a private investment firm that owns, among many other things, the early catalog of the band the Killers.

What about AEG?

The “A” in AEG is Anschutz, the owner of such diverse entities as the Los Angeles Kings and Galaxy, Staples Center and a conservative newspaper, the Washington Examiner. He explored selling AEG about 10 years ago, with Walter and Boehly as interested buyers, before Anschutz ultimately decided to hold.

As with any sports and entertainment company, the pandemic was incredibly hard on business, with Staples Center being able to fill the arena to capacity only in the last few weeks.

AEG CEO 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.”

A source who was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter told The Times that the deal shouldn’t make it seem like this is an evacuation of the space. The source said the sale of the Lakers shares shouldn’t affect Anschutz’s ownership of the Kings or Galaxy.

What does this mean for the Lakers?

As of now, nothing. The team declined to comment, citing that nothing is official until the sale is approved by the NBA’s Board of Governors. A source said that approval process could be handled remotely, meaning the league’s owners wouldn’t have to meet to approve the sale.

It also doesn’t mean the Lakers and AEG are breaking up.

NFL may have met its match in AEG owner Phil Anschutz

Last month, the team announced it was extending its lease with Staples Center until 2041, ensuring AEG a marquee tenant.

The Lakers already have a relationship with the Dodgers thanks to local TV deals through Spectrum SportsNet and SportsNet LA. And there’s Magic Johnson, the Lakers Hall of Famer who is part of the Dodgers ownership group.

Why should I care?

The biggest potential wrinkle in this is that Anschutz held the right of first refusal in any sale of the Lakers, and now that could belong to Walter and Boehly. That means if the Buss family ever wants to sell, two of the Dodgers’ owners might get first crack at buying them.


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