Pollstar is the first to speak to AEG President/CEO Tim Leiweke about the sale of AEG.
First off, what would be the one thing you wish to communicate to the concert business?
That they will see no change. AEG has been run by the same management team that got into the live entertainment business, and got into the facility management business, and that management team has just signed extensions. Everyone’s tied-up long term, and I’m committed to continuing to be the president and CEO of this company long-term.
No one will notice a change. In fact, if anything, you’re going to see another growth spurt.
So, what I’m certain of, is that our new owners, our new partners are going to want to encourage us and provide us capital to continue to grow our company. So whether it be Farmers Field, and obviously you’ve seen the growth-spurt we’re on with AEG Facilities, or whether it be Axs Ticketing, I believe the news that people should take from this announcement is that, as big and as bold as we are today, we’re going to get bigger. We’re going to grow. And we have big ideas about where we’re going with this company.
Our best days are directly ahead of us.
You said “partners.” Plural. Let me ask the two obvious questions: who are the potential buyers and what is the motivation for selling.
Potential buyers: there are a lot of people who’ve contacted us. Dozens in the last couple of days. The one thing that Mr. Anschutz is committed to is making sure that the new owners are also committed to our philosophy, our vision and our growth. So Farmers Field, for example, will be as critical of a priority to the next group as it is for the current group.
As to “why now,” because he’s about to turn 73. This has always been about an exit strategy. It’s an equity play, not a family trust, not a stock play and not a “let’s put it to the next generation.” We always knew there was going to be a time, and we owed Phil the opportunity to cash in on this investment. The world’s in a good place right now and we need new ownership so we can get Farmers Field and a new team for L.A. done.
And, to Phil’s credit, he knows the timing for that is now.
The L.A. media has been couching AEG as a Los Angeles company. What percentage of the company is in L.A. versus the globe?
The majority of our company, and the growth of the company, is the rest of the world. Quite frankly, the number one music venue in the entire company, but more importantly the number one music venue in the world, is the O2. And that campus is just as big, just as valuable as L.A. Live.
And, by the way, we’re in the process of developing two or three more L.A. Live kinds of ideas. So, not only is the majority of our company’s activities in the rest of the world, it’s where almost all of our growth is going to come.
Are any of the buyers talking about splitting up, selling off the assets?
One, we won’t split up the assets during this process. Two, I believe whoever we bring in as a partner and an owner will see the value of what we do, which is these assets are all connected. So splitting them up is not what we’re looking for as a partner and not what Mr. Anschutz is looking for in a successor.