The boss of the Anschutz Entertainment Group, Tim Leiweke, has told Billboard that the much reported sale of the live entertainment major is well under way, but that talks are taking longer than expected because of the number of parties interested in bidding for the firm.
The Anschutz Company announced its intent to sell its entertainment business, which owns and operates a network of venues worldwide, including London’s O2 dome, as well as having extensive interests in sport (especially in the US) and owning the AEG Live tour and festival promotions business, last September.
Current owner Phillip Anschutz has indicated that he wants to sell the AEG company to a buyer that intends to keep it together as one business, preferably under the current management team led by Leiweke. It’s been speculated that the AEG business in its entirety, with all it real estate interests, could fetch in the region of $7-8 billion.
Speaking to Billboard, Leiweke said: “We’re gonna get there. Unfortunately, it’s taking longer because more people were interested than we ever imagined, so there has been a lot of time and energy spent with a lot of different people looking at the company”.
While not wishing to comment on who specifically has shown an interest in the firm, he did indicate that he and the Blackstone Group, who are coordinating the sale, have narrowed the field somewhat. He added: “We’re getting down to the final straws here, the kind of people and companies interested are very good, and they share our vision for the future of the company. Now it’s just trying to get Mr Anschutz and [potential buyers] together on the right deal”.