Sunday, October 14, 2012

AEG up for sale

AEG - the Anschutz Entertainment business, not the fridge manufacturer - is up for sale.

It's a huge business, with more sports teams under its control than the three shadiest betting syndicates put together, and a slew of venues and promotion interests.

In the UK, AEG is probably most famous for working Michael Jackson to death during the preparations for the comeback that he'd never come back from, but also cascades coins out of owning the MEN Arena and taking care of the day-to-day running of the Millennium Dome.

There's no end of super-rich types interested in buying the company and, thus, becoming major-if-shadowy types in the music and sports businesses. Reuters runs its eye over some of the people kicking the tyres:

The list of potential AEG buyers includes investment firm Guggenheim Partners LLC and private equity firms such as Thomas H. Lee Partners LP, Bain Capital LLC and Colony Capital LLC.

Biotech billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong, Los Angeles's richest person with more than $7 billion, has also said he would bid on AEG to use its sports and concert assets to promote a healthy lifestyle to LA citizens.
Given that most of AEG's assets aren't in LA, presumably Soon-Shiong is thinking that he'd do something attractive in the Target Center in Minneapolis and encourage LA residents to cycle out there to watch?

Seriously, Patrick? Using sports franchises to promote healthy lifestyles? A business which encourages people to sit down watching for long periods of time, consuming hot dogs and nachos while drinking beer from your own hats?

And yes, Bain Capital is on the list, holding out the tantalising prospect that every time you go to see a gig at the O2, you'll be helping Mitt Romney get a little richer.