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. Heexpressed 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.