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AEG Draws Interest From L.A. Drug Billionaire Soon-Shiong

Patrick Soon-Shiong, the richest man in Los Angeles, said he is interested in arena-owner Anschutz Entertainment Group.

“Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong is well aware of the fact that AEG is in play,” according to an e-mailed statement today from a spokesman for the billionaire drug-company executive. Soon-Shiong admires the role Anschutz and AEG’s chief executive officer, Tim Leiweke, have played revitalizing downtown Los Angeles. “We clearly are interested exploring the opportunity to further this legacy.”

Denver billionaire Phil Anschutz said yesterday that he was putting AEG, the world’s second-largest concert promoter, up for sale. Soon-Shiong, with a net worth of about $10 billion, is an avid sports fan, having purchased Magic Johnson’s minority stake in the Lakers two years ago. AEG owns a 30 percent stake in the basketball team. He was also a member of an unsuccessful bidding group for baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers by hedge fund manager Steven Cohen of SAC Capital Advisors LP.

AEG, based in Los Angeles, owns and operates 100 venues on five continents. The company owns the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles and is the largest concert promoter behind Live Nation Entertainment Inc. AEG also owns the Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings and soccer’s Galaxy, with star David Beckham.

The Los Angeles Times reported the interest of Soon-Shiong, 60, yesterday.

Anschutz, 72, hired Blackstone Advisory Partners to manage the sale of AEG, which has plans to build a $1.2 billion downtown stadium in order to lure a National Football League team to Los Angeles.

Blackstone oversaw the bankruptcy sale of baseball’s Dodgers, which sold for a record $2.15 billion to a group that includes Johnson and Guggenheim Partners.

The price for AEG will depend on which assets Anschutz and Leiweke decide to sell. The company is looking for a buyer that is “fully committed to working with AEG’s management team as it pursues its long-term business objectives.”

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