If you’d put aside $7 billion to buy the Anschutz Entertainment Group, you might need to find yourself another $3 billion, because rumour has it that the Anschutz company has revised upwards the figure it is seeking for the venue, sports and live entertainment group, which the American conglom indicated it would sell last month.
According to Reuters, while an initial prospectus about the company doesn’t go into financials, AEG’s current owners are seeking bids of “high single digit, low double digit” billions. It’s thought the 25 page AEG information memorandum will go to dozens of interested parties this week, while those who sign non-disclosure agreements could have access to the live entertainment giant’s books by the end of the month.
As previously reported, the Anschutz company, led by aging billionaire Philip Anschutz, has indicated that it is in no rush to sell AEG, and that the right buyer would be able to acquire the entertainment group in its entirety, and continue to run it as one entity. That requirement could reduce the final number of bidders, though there does seem to be a lot of interest at the moment.
Amongst the potential bidders tipped by Reuters are investment companies like Guggenheim Partners and private equity groups including Bain Capital, Colony Capital and Thomas H Lee Partners, the latter of which helped finance Edgar Bronfman Jr’s acquisition of Warner Music in 2004. Liberty Media is also said to be interested. It currently owns a quarter of AEG rival Live Nation, and is often mooted to be interested in taking complete ownership of that company.
As previously reported, LA-based billionaire surgeon and biotech entrepreneur Patrick Soon-Shiong, who has been pumping chunks of his fortune into America sports teams of late, is also interested in leading a consortium to bid for the firm.
How many of these potential bidders will actually come through with a $10 billion+ bid remains to be seen. Needless to say, the Anschutz company is making no comment at this point beyond its original declaration of intent to sell its entertainment business. As also previously reported, AEG boss Tim Leiweke has insisted that it’s business as usual at the live firm despite the pending sale, adding that he expects the company’s operations to continue unhindered even once a transaction is completed.