AEG Center in Los Angeles
The announcement that AEG is for sale raises uncertainties for many in the political and business communities, especially as it relates to the pending football stadium
News of the Anschutz Entertainment Group’s (AEG) pending sale has been particularly unsettling for city lawmakers, whose ongoing efforts to bring the NFL downtown have come to an abrupt halt. For nearly 20 years the Los Angeles City Council has been tabling the approval of Farmer’s Field, a professional football stadium proposed by AEG. The announcement of the future sale of AEG, however, has left many with concerns about pushing forward with this project.
The company owns the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings, the Staples Center arena, a stake in the Los Angeles Lakers, and several other venues in downtown Los Angeles. They are also a top candidate to bring the NFL back to Los Angeles. The announcement was made by its parent company, Anschutz Co., last week. AEG also owns other venues all over the world.
Despite their announcement, AEG officials have insisted that all NFL plans will remain intact. According to one mainstream news report, AEG President Tim Leiweke apologized to a City Council Committee on Monday for “the disturbance and the disruption” that the announcement may have caused. Committed to both the company and the stadium project, Leiweke stated that a new owner would actually help AEG to move forward with its NFL plans.
Leiweke’s promise may be put to the test sooner than many may have imagined, because AEG has already received bidders, this according to ABC7. A Los Angeles billionaire named Patrick Soon-Shiong, who owns a minority stake in the Los Angeles Lakers, has voiced interest in buying the company. With an estimated net worth of $7.3 billion dollars, Soon-Shiong has been named by Forbes magazine as the richest man in Los Angeles. Madison Square Garden Co. may also be a bidder.
No reason for the sale has been reported publicly however, the suggested asking price is $7 billion at present.
The following statements were issued by local elected officials relative to the pending sale.
ANTONIO VILLARAIGOSA, Mayor of Los Angeles:
"I have worked with both Philip Anschutz and Tim Leiweke for years to bring a football team to Los Angeles. 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 sale will not affect plans for an NFL team to return to Los Angeles in the near future and will not affect my support for moving ahead with Farmers Field and the Convention Center site."
HERB WESSON, president of the L.A. City Council:
“The proposed partnership between the City and AEG to revitalize the Convention Center and bring a professional football team to Los Angeles is a tremendous achievement for everyone who lives in the City of Angels.
“This project will bring thousands of jobs to our residents and continue the economic renaissance of our downtown neighborhoods. I expect the full City Council to continue to move the ball forward when we vote later this week.”
COUNCILWOMAN JAN PERRY in whose council district AEG is located:
“Since late 2010, I have worked diligently as Chair of the Ad Hoc Stadium Committee with our Chief Legislative Analyst (CLA) and Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) to ensure that we develop a stadium and convention center modernization project that protects the taxpayer while supporting our effort to bring world-class conventions, tourism dollars, and revenue to the city. This process has been transparent and thoughtful. For this reason, I believe that the city is well-protected. Anyone stepping in to lead AEG will be held to the same understanding that we have established.
“To date, the city has been assured by its counsel that we have a deal in place that will accomplish our goals and, as chair of the Committee overseeing this transaction, I will stand behind our commitment to fully protect the City’s interests. Through this process, the project will bring over 20,000 new jobs, millions in new tax revenue, continue to support tourism, and bring more investment to our city.”
COUNCILMAN BERNARD PARKS (CD – 9):
“We are very concerned about the timing of the sale in relationship to AEG coming to the council requesting approval for their entitlement. I am particularly concerned as to whether you can rely on the assurances that the new owners are going to comply with the current deal points.”