Wednesday, September 19, 2012

AEG sale gets interest from 'LA's richest man' - Long Beach Press-Telegram

This is an artist's conception of Farmers Field, a downtown stadium that AEG officials hope will host an NFL team. Los Angeles city officials and AEG executives confirmed that sports entertainment giant AEG is up for sale on Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2012. (Dean Musgrove/Staff Photographer) (Dean Musgrove)

LOS ANGELES - The man reported to be L.A.'s richest emerged today as a potential bidder for the sports and entertainment empire behind the effort to build a stadium in downtown Los Angeles and lure a National Football League team back to southern California.

Patrick Soon-Shiong, 59, a doctor, biotech investor and philanthropist who owns a minority share in the Lakers and tried unsuccessfully to buy part of the Dodgers, has emerged as a potential bidder for AEG. Forbes has estimated his net worth at $7.2 billion.

Among other assets, AEG owns Staples Center, the adjacent L.A. Live entertainment complex, the Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings, Major League Soccer champion L.A. Galaxy, a minority stake in the Lakers, London's O2 arena, Berlin's O2 World arena and the world's second-largest concert-promotion business.

"Given the success of the management team and employees in establishing AEG as one of the premier real estate development, live sports and entertainment platforms in the world, as well as the value AEG has created with the strategic assets that comprise its platform, this is an appropriate time to transition AEG to a new qualified owner," Cannon Y. Harvey, president of the Anschutz Co., said Tuesday. He said the sale process would not disrupt day-to- day operations.

"Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong is keenly aware that AEG is in play," his representative, Chuck Kenworthy, said in a statement quoted by the Los Angeles Times. He

expressed admiration for AEG and what it has done "in revitalizing the downtown community. "We clearly are interested in furthering this legacy for Los Angeles," Kenworthy said.

Other bidders could include Madison Square Garden Co., which owns the New York sports arena and the Knicks basketball team, sports consultant Marc Ganis told The Times. The company has already pushed westward, paying $23.5 million earlier this year to buy the Forum in Inglewood, and it has embarked on a $50 million renovation of the facility.

AEG also is expected to attract intense interest from private-equity firms, which could purchase the company intact and sell it off in pieces, The Times reported.

CW Developing Contemporary 'Alice in Wonderland' Drama - Hollywood Reporter

First, the CW decided it would reboot Beauty and the Beast; now, the young-skewing network is reimagining Alice in Wonderland.

A script has been commissioned for the project, titled Wunderland, which is being billed as a contemporary iteration of Alice in Wonderland, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed. The drama will center on a young female detective in present-day Los Angeles who discovers another world that exists under the surface of this ultra-modern city.

Wunderland will be written and executive produced by Playboy Club's Chad Hodge, with McG (Gossip Girl) and Peter Johnson attached as executive producers. The hour-long entry is set up at McG's Wonderland Sound and Vision in association with Warner Bros. Television.

The project joins such efforts as a high school monster drama, a Sleepy Hollow reboot and a Wonder Woman origins drama in contention for a pilot order later this development season.

LA County leads California in wildfire risk to homes - Los Angeles Times

More homes face high risk of being destroyed in a wildfire in densely populated Los Angeles County than in any other county in the state, according to new insurance industry research that underscores that fire danger is not confined to rural areas.

The analysis, released Wednesday by the Insurance Information Network of California, places more than 2 million homes in the high-risk category statewide. Slightly more than half of them are in Southern California, where huge, wind-driven fires have charred thousands of houses in the last decade.

"Wildfires have been the most expensive singular events that have occurred in California" since the 1994 Northridge earthquake, said Robert Hartwig, president of the Insurance Information Institute. "It does seem the losses are in an inexorable climb upward" across the country, he added, citing the effects of drought and more people moving into fire-prone areas.

The network, a nonprofit trade association and affiliate of the institute, used the data to create an online map that gives a county-by-county breakdown of the number of homes in each of three fire risk categories: low, moderate and high.

With 417,543 homes in the high-risk column, Los Angeles County leads the state, followed by San Diego and San Bernardino counties.

Counties in the central Sierra Nevada, including Alpine, Mariposa and Tuolumne, have the greatest proportion of residences at high risk. But because those regions are sparsely populated, the number of homes is relatively small.

The analysis was conducted by a division of Verisk Insurance Solutions, a company that provides information to the insurance industry. Using satellite data, the firm examined fuels on wild land, slope â€" which contributes to fire spread â€" and road access for firefighters.

The results, which count apartments and condos as well as single-family homes, differ from other assessments by the state and another company that recently issued a report on wildfire hazard in the West.

Employing a different methodology that looked at parcels, rather than individual residences, a report by CoreLogic estimated that more than 740,000 residences throughout the West were in the highest risk categories. About 282,000 of those properties were in California.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, which looks at fuels and an area's fire history, estimated in 2007 that more than 3 million homes in the state were at the greatest risk from wildfire. Most of them were in urban subdivisions not far from wild lands that can be the source of wind-driven embers that ignite houses ahead of the flame front.

California insurers paid more than $5 billion in wildfire claims in the disastrous fire seasons of 2003, 2007 and 2008. Of the 10 costliest wildfires in the United States since 1990, seven have been in California.

That has helped drive up average annual homeowner premiums in the state, which have risen nearly 50% since 2001. Insurance companies are also paying closer attention to brush clearance and other preventive measures when they issue new policies, Hartwig said.

Last month, the state began collecting an annual fire prevention fee from homeowners in the 31 million acres protected by state firefighters. The fee, authorized by legislation, is expected to raise $84 million to $88 million a year to pay for such activities as brush clearance inspections, arson investigations and public education.

bettina.boxall@latimes.com

LA Entertainment Empire AEG Up For Sale - NBC Southern California

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The company that owns Staples Center and is the driving force behind an effort to build a professional football stadium in downtown Los Angeles announced on Tuesday it is being put up for sale.

It wasn't immediately clear how far along the company is in the sale process, or whether it has entertained any offers, but the price for AEG could be well into the billions.

And the sale would mean a major ground shift in sports and entertainment in Los Angeles and around the world.

Anschutz Entertainment Group, a subsidiary of the Anschutz Co. owned by Denver billionaire Philip Anschutz, also owns the Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings and Major League Soccer champion Los Angeles Galaxy and has a stake in the Los Angeles Lakers. It also owns the L.A. Live entertainment complex in downtown Los Angeles and the O2 arena in London.

“Given the success of the management team and employees in establishing AEG as one of the premier real estate development, live sports and entertainment platforms in the world, as well as the value AEG has created with the strategic assets that comprise its platform, this is an appropriate time to transition AEG to a new qualified owner,” said Cannon Y. Harvey, president of the Anschutz Co.

“This process represents a unique opportunity to maximize value for all concerned and will allow us to assure that, like the Anschutz Co., the new owner will have the financial resources, commitment and vision to support AEG's management team as it continues to grow the business of AEG and the power of its brands,” he said.

Harvey said the sale process would not disrupt AEG's day-to-day operations.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa issued a statement saying he was confident the sale would not disrupt the pending plan to build a football stadium adjacent to Staples Center and lure an NFL franchise to the city.

“I have worked with both Philip Anschutz and (AEG President) Tim Leiweke for years to bring a football team to Los Angeles,” Villaraigosa said. “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 and in the near future and will not affect my support for moving ahead with Farmers Field and the Convention Center site.”

Leiweke said the new owner “will have the historic opportunity to benefit from AEG's strategy to reunite Los Angeles with the NFL, as AEG moves forward with its efforts to bring an NFL franchise to Farmers Field to be built at L.A. Live.”

Councilwoman Jan Perry, whose district includes the proposed stadium site, said she did not know about a pending sale but agreed that it wouldn't have adverse effects on courting an NFL team.

“The city has done a good job of protecting the taxpayer's interest in negotiating an agreement,” Perry told The Associated Press, “so whoever steps into the shoes of Mr. Anschutz will have the same obligations.”

Perry said the move “arguably is very positive” because she suspected it could lead to an enthusiastic new partner anxious to get in on the city's NFL prospects.

LA Sports Giant AEG Up For Sale - NBC Southern California

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The company that owns Staples Center and is the driving force behind an effort to build a professional football stadium in downtown Los Angeles announced on Tuesday it is being put up for sale.

It wasn't immediately clear how far along the company is in the sale process, or whether it has entertained any offers, but the price for AEG could be well into the billions.

And the sale would mean a major ground shift in sports and entertainment in Los Angeles and around the world.

Anschutz Entertainment Group, a subsidiary of the Anschutz Co. owned by Denver billionaire Philip Anschutz, also owns the Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings and Major League Soccer champion Los Angeles Galaxy and has a stake in the Los Angeles Lakers. It also owns the L.A. Live entertainment complex in downtown Los Angeles and the O2 arena in London.

“Given the success of the management team and employees in establishing AEG as one of the premier real estate development, live sports and entertainment platforms in the world, as well as the value AEG has created with the strategic assets that comprise its platform, this is an appropriate time to transition AEG to a new qualified owner,” said Cannon Y. Harvey, president of the Anschutz Co.

“This process represents a unique opportunity to maximize value for all concerned and will allow us to assure that, like the Anschutz Co., the new owner will have the financial resources, commitment and vision to support AEG's management team as it continues to grow the business of AEG and the power of its brands,” he said.

Harvey said the sale process would not disrupt AEG's day-to-day operations.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa issued a statement saying he was confident the sale would not disrupt the pending plan to build a football stadium adjacent to Staples Center and lure an NFL franchise to the city.

“I have worked with both Philip Anschutz and (AEG President) Tim Leiweke for years to bring a football team to Los Angeles,” Villaraigosa said. “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 and in the near future and will not affect my support for moving ahead with Farmers Field and the Convention Center site.”

Leiweke said the new owner “will have the historic opportunity to benefit from AEG's strategy to reunite Los Angeles with the NFL, as AEG moves forward with its efforts to bring an NFL franchise to Farmers Field to be built at L.A. Live.”

Councilwoman Jan Perry, whose district includes the proposed stadium site, said she did not know about a pending sale but agreed that it wouldn't have adverse effects on courting an NFL team.

“The city has done a good job of protecting the taxpayer's interest in negotiating an agreement,” Perry told The Associated Press, “so whoever steps into the shoes of Mr. Anschutz will have the same obligations.”

Perry said the move “arguably is very positive” because she suspected it could lead to an enthusiastic new partner anxious to get in on the city's NFL prospects.

Angels beat Texas 11-3, as Jered Weaver records 100th career win - Pasadena Star-News

ANAHEIM - Jered Weaver spent a long stretch of his 100 th career victory in the batting cage and the tunnel below Angel Stadium, playing catch to keep his arm warm while the Angels batted around in an eight-run fourth inning.

Weaver didn't lose his rhythm, and the Angels kept flowing toward a playoff berth.

Weaver pitched seven innings of six-hit ball in his 18 th win of the season, Chris Iannetta had a two-run single and scored on a wild pitch during that crazy rally, and the Angels moved up in the AL postseason race with an 11-3 victory over the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night.

Weaver (18-4) gave up third-inning homers to Mike Napoli and Ian Kinsler, but got a huge cushion from his teammates to ease into a tie with Tampa Bay's David Price for the AL lead in wins. The ace right-hander, who has spent his entire career in Anaheim, matched his single-season high for victories and became just the sixth pitcher to win 100 games with the club.

"It's an honor to do it all in an Angels uniform," said Weaver, a Los Angeles-area native. "I wouldn't have it any other way. Hopefully these fans see 200 more, but I don't know. We'll see what happens."

What's happening on the scoreboards is more interesting to Weaver and his teammates at the moment.

Erick Aybar had three hits and scored two runs for the Angels (81-67), who moved within 3½ games of wild card-leading Oakland with their 15 th win in 20 games after the Athletics (84-63) lost at Detroit.

Los Angeles also kept pressure on Baltimore, which sits in second place in the AL wild-card standings.

"We're at the point in the year when we just have to win," Iannetta said. "We need to find a way. Texas, Oakland, Baltimore, they're all in the drivers' seat, but we've been on a real good three-week stretch. We just have to keep working."

Los Angeles trimmed its deficit behind the AL West-leading Rangers (87-60) to 6½ games, but the Angels are much more focused on making a late wild-card push - and with a few more innings like the fourth, they might have an outside shot.

Los Angeles sent 12 batters to the plate in the fourth while carving up three Texas pitchers, including starter Ryan Dempster, during its biggest rally in nearly two months.

"It felt like a rain delay out there," Weaver said. "But when runs are coming across the board, you can't complain too much."

With eight Angels scoring a run, they had no trouble producing offense in the absence of Albert Pujols, who missed the game to be with his wife and their newborn daughter. The Angels expect Pujols to be back in the lineup Wednesday.

Dempster (6-2) was charged with five runs and six hits in 3 1-3 innings, ending his five-start winning streak with his second rough outing against the Angels. The veteran has yielded 13 earned runs to Los Angeles and just 15 to the rest of the AL during his nine starts for Texas.

"It got out of control," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "We just couldn't get any outs. Dempster struggled from the beginning. It was a fight the whole time, and in that fourth inning, they just took the game away from us."

All-Star Josh Hamilton left in the fourth with sinus trouble that affected the slugger's vision, Washington said. Napoli had two hits in another big game against his former teammates, but Weaver and two relievers largely shut down the majors' most potent offense.

Kinsler ended an 0-for-11 skid with just his second homer in 17 games, but the Angels got rolling in the fourth. After Vernon Wells and Alberto Callaspo reached, Iannetta cracked a one-out single off the bottom of the right-field wall before Mike Trout walked to chase Dempster.

Tanner Scheppers then threw two pitches: He hit Aybar with the first to load the bases, and put the second into the backstop for a wild pitch. Iannetta made contact with Scheppers' leg on his slide, leaving Scheppers on the ground in agony while Napoli's throw hit home plate umpire Jim Wolf, allowing Trout to score on a throwing error.

Scheppers left with a bruised right knee, but the Angels didn't let up against Mark Lowe.

Aybar scored on Kendrys Morales' single, a tapper that traveled about 15 feet up the third-base line. Wells and Callaspo then drove in runs before Mark Trumbo made his second out of the inning.

"It was strange and bizarre," Michael Young said. "There were definitely strange things that happened that inning, but the bottom line was that they had some good at-bats and found a way to score. It doesn't matter how it happened. They scored eight."

NOTES: Hamilton was replaced by Leonys Martin on defense in the bottom of the fourth. The major league leader with 42 homers walked and grounded out in his two at-bats. ... Weaver has never lost a decision to Texas at Angel Stadium, going 9-0. ... RHP Wilmer Font made his major league debut for Texas in the sixth, pitching a scoreless inning.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Sports entertainment giant AEG up for sale - Los Angeles Daily News

In a deal that could jeopardize plans for a downtown NFL stadium, Anschutz Co., may sell the sports division poised to build the project, company officials confirmed Tuesday.

In a statement, Denver, Colorado-based Anschutz Co. announced it is weighing the sale of AEG, the sports and entertainment division unit that owns the Los Angeles Kings, Staples Center, L.A. Live, the L.A. Galaxy and other sports teams and stadiums around the globe.

The news was first reported by the Wall Street Journal, which said the sale could fetch billions of dollars. It is unclear if there is already a buyer, or how long Anschutz Co. has been considering the sale.

City Councilwoman Jan Perry said she was informed by AEG president Tim

AEG president Tim Leiweke discusses the proposed $1.35 billion NFL football stadium project in downtown Los Angeles on Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2011, during a meeting of the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association held at Notre Dame High School. Los Angeles city officials and AEG executives confirmed that sports entertainment giant AEG is up for sale on Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2012. (John McCoy/Staff Photographer)

Leiweke on Tuesday that AEG was for sale.

"He said, `They're selling the company,"' Perry said.

The sale of AEG could disrupt plans to build a 72,000 seat stadium in downtown, since the new buyer would have to agree to the city's terms over the project.

City planning staff, financial advisors, and transportation officials have worked for the months with AEG representatives, who have spent the last year aggressively pursuing plans to build a football stadium in downtown.

Last week, the Planning Commission approved the environmental impact report for the stadium - a crucial hurdle for the project's approval - and the City Council is expected to vote on the report next week.

On Tuesday, Perry stressed that she didn't believe the sale of AEG would affect the stadium, and that a new buyer - if one is found - would inherit the deal.

Asked if she was surprised by the news of a possible AEG sale, Perry responded: "Nothing surprises me anymore."

dakota.smith@dailynews.com

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