AEG is reportedly a little bit closer to their surprising sale thanks to LA billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong. For those unfamiliar with him, he is pictured above and is not Jerry West. Soon-Shiong reportedly is putting together a local investor group to buy the sports, entertainment, and real estate branch of the Anschutz Co. founded by Denver billionaire Phillip Anschutz. According to three sources familiar to the deal reported by Reuters
Soon-Shiong, whose fortune is estimated at more than $7.2 billion, has joined forces for the AEG bid with private equity firm Guggenheim Partners, which recently led a local group in the purchase of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball club. Soon-Shiong and Guggenheim are expected to bring in additional partners, two of the sources said.
Wait so Guggenheim has more money? After Guggenheim Baseball Management acquired the Dodgers for an unprecedented $2.15 billion, the largest sale of any sports franchise ever, they have more money to spend?
As Soon-Shiong is supposed to be the richest man in Los Angeles, and a sports fan in general as he owns a small piece of the Lakers formerly belonging to Magic, his name surfacing as a frontrunner is natural. But the inclusion of the Guggenheim Partners is questionable to me.
The Guggenheim Baseball Management has proved that they have a serious commitment to winning as they have already inked huge contracts for Adrian Gonzales, Carl Crawford, and Josh Becket in addition to those owed Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier. This would appear to bode well for the Kings and Galaxy if this early proposed sale went through. But where is this money coming from.
Guggenheim has more than $160 billion in global assets under management, according to its web site.
According to their website? That information would be better coming from a neutral source. There is a lot of information on the internet, and the additional breaking news is not all of it is true.
After the financial crisis brought about by banks and their unsupervised spending, and the troubles (former) owner Frank McCourt put the Dodgers through, I am nervous of any ownership–let alone a group that has so much money suddenly becoming a player in sports, in our market.
This is also a very localized view of the sale, as AEG has franchises and venues all over the world including the O2 in London. So its still too early to hand the Kings, Galaxy, Staples Center, LA Live, and the Farmer’s Field plan over to Soon-Shiong and the Guggenheim Partners.