March 1 (Bloomberg) -- Tom Barrack’s Colony Capital LLC has taken the lead in the auction for Anschutz Entertainment Group after Guggenheim Partners LLC dropped out of the bidding, said people familiar with the matter.
Los Angeles billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong, who remains in the auction, is unlikely to make an offer near the $8 billion asking price of AEG’s owner, Philip Anschutz, said one person, who sought anonymity because the talks are private. Guggenheim, which bought the Dodgers baseball team last year, may also reconsider if the price drops, the person said.
Colony and its partner, Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, are also bidding below the asking price for Los Angeles-based AEG, which owns Staples Center and London’s O2 Arena -- leaving open the possibility of another offer topping theirs, the people said. Anschutz also may not sell, the people said.
“We are not going to comment either on the identities of bidding parties or values being proposed by bidders during the sales process,” said Robert Siegfried, a spokesman for Anschutz. “We are gratified by all of the interest being shown in AEG, and at the conclusion of the process we will make the appropriate announcement.”
Colony, which is investing in U.S. real estate, owns the Miramax film library and Neverland Ranch, the former home of the late pop star Michael Jackson near Santa Barbara, California.
Anschutz Co., AEG’s Denver-based parent, hired Blackstone Advisory Partners to assist with the sale, the company said in a Sept. 19 statement.
The negotiations to sell AEG are on hold as Anschutz, 73, recovers from back surgery, according to the people. He is worth $10 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
AEG also has interests in the Los Angeles Lakers NBA basketball team, the Kings NHL hockey team, and the L.A. Galaxy professional soccer team. The company is second in the concert business to Live Nation Entertainment Inc.
Led by Chief Executive Officer Tim Leiweke, AEG developed L.A. Live, a hotel and entertainment complex adjacent to Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles. In London, the O2 is surrounded by piazzas, bars and restaurants as well exhibition space.
AEG’s proposal to build a $1.2 billion NFL stadium next to Staples Center received city council approval last year.