LA Galaxy parent company AEG is up for sale

AnschutzMLSCup (ISIPhotos.com)

Phil Anschutz has been one of the most important owners in Major League Soccer since day one, but he appears ready to sell the very company he used to maintain his ties to the 17-year-old soccer league.

Anschutz (pictured above accepting the MLS Cup last year) is planning to sell AEG, parent company of the LA Galaxy and current co-owner of the Houston Dynamo. According to multiple reports, the sports and entertainment giant is expected to fetch a multi-billlion dollar price tag.

AEG owns an impressive portfolio of sports teams, including ownership stakes in the LA Lakers, LA Kings and sports venues like Staples Center and Home Depot Center.

Just how the sale of AEG will affect MLS remains to be seen, but it will certainly mean changes for the Galaxy, which is the last team Anschutz maintains full ownership of after previously having owned half the teams in MLS, from the New York/New Jersey MetroStars to the Chicago Fire and the San Jose Earthquakes.

Anschutz, 72, was the most important owner in Major League Soccer's first decade, and his support of MLS helped the league survive. MLS recognized his contributions by naming the MLS Cup after Anschutz.

What do you think of this development?

Share your thoughts below.

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55 Responses to LA Galaxy parent company AEG is up for sale

  1. Brian says:

    Interesting that they would do this now with the Farmers Field thing still in the works. Maybe they are just selling high like when Disney sold the Ducks and Angels? It’s surprising that Anschutz Co. would want to get out of the entertainment and sports industry completely.

  2. Jamie says:

    To the Houston fans who will inevitably come…

    a) How’s that nice downtown stadium treating you?

    b) I got a job for you-convince David Beckham and Robbie Keane to live in Houston, not LA.

    c)I got another job for you-after they say no, find some other DP’s who don’t care about weather and other things who still have good talent (oh wait, they’ve already done that with players like OBG, Kris Boyd (tried, he wanted the Portland weather), Landin, etc.)

    d) You like having a league? Thank Phil Anschutz and the Hunt family for owning multiple teams when it wasn’t even close to in their best interest to do so. If not for those two, no league.

  3. mrad11 says:

    the economy will tank hard next year. How do I know? the company I am working is not selling much this quarter. We probably will suffer a 20-30% drop and even more next year if the situation does not improve quick.

    He is smart. Getting out now while he can still get pretty good sums for his assets.

  4. Gnarls says:

    As a Galaxy, Lakers, and Kings fan, I am dismayed. AEG, for all its faults, has done well by the city of Los Angeles (and Carson). It’s always unsettling when big top-down shakeups occur in corporations, and this is as top-down as they come. All fans can hope is that Phil Anschutz and his associates put the integrity of their brand and franchises ahead of whatever dollar figure comes their way.

    Part of me hopes AEG is purchased by an oil sheik from Qatar.

  5. Gnarls says:

    I don’t know where you’ve been since 2008, but the economy already tanked.

  6. KJ says:

    Yup, we can base the whole economy on your company.

  7. CplDaniel says:

    Thank You Ghost of Lamar Hunt.

  8. slughog says:

    Beckham?….

  9. JustinV says:

    Looks like someone wants to bring an NFL team to LA.

  10. Old School says:

    You can thank him for the NFL’s success too, while you’re at it.

  11. Eugene says:

    Wow… this will likely result in major changes to the league, even if not immediately, than soon enough. With the league in a developmental stage and most teams not profitable, Anschutz’s involvement was key for stability. What’s next for MLS? This feels like a major turning point… hopefully it’ll work out positively.

  12. Old School says:

    I wish this impacted CHIVAS USA in some capacity. Any capacity…skidmark on MLS.

  13. PD says:

    dude… what’s up with his nose? is it really that big or is that some sort of optical illusion?

  14. Shaggy says:

    or buy an ipad5

  15. Shaggy says:

    +100 That’s funny as hell.

  16. Scott A says:

    It seems that Monster Energy Drink is interested, and interested in a rebrand.

    Not really, just a bit of gallows humor from a NY Metro/Red Bulls fan.

  17. Pepe says:

    Good points, I’m so thankful that we have the lowest payroll in MLS. God, I’m going to miss AEG.

  18. Michael F says:

    From everything you read about him, beyond how media-shy he is, is how passionate he is about the beautiful game and seeing MLS succeed. So I bet there are already deals in place where he stays a financial backer of sorts.

  19. Jamie says:

    You’re missing my point-Houston has tried to get DP’s and other big money guys (think Kris Boyd), some of them flopped, some didn’t want to come, and some wouldn’t even consider Houston in the first place.

    You have the best SSS stadium in MLS, you have a team that isn’t in San Jose because of Anschutz, you have a league that exists largely because of his actions as well as Lamar Hunts.

  20. Old School says:

    Haha.

  21. Pepe says:

    No, you’re missing my point. We’ve only ever had one DP at a time and the majority of them have only made the DP threshold because of transfer fees, not salary. And sorry, I’m not going to praise AEG for moving a team (which is a terrible thing to do, btw) to one of the obviously hottest unexploited soccer markets. They still haven’t paid for a competitive team (Canetti and Dom have miraculously been able to keep it competitive), and they still don’t and have never given a crap about the Dynamo.

  22. Dax says:

    Disney sold the Angels ($180mm) and Ducks ($55mm) at their respective floors — more than $75mm off their valuations at the time of sale.

  23. CrazyMike366 says:

    Considering how much personal interest he takes in the Galaxy, I wouldn’t be surprised if he unloaded AEG, then cut a deal with the new owners to buy back the Galaxy when they inevitably sell off the sports properties they aren’t focused on.

  24. biff says:

    I wonder whether David Beckham would be interested in owning the Galaxy.

  25. Kris says:

    I get that you think Anschutz is some great guy and all. That’s fine haha. But the city and people actually IN the Dynamo organization are the ones that pulled this stadium off, buddy. Check the local news. He couldn’t pull it off in SJ and he almost didn’t get it done here. Local government, Dynamo administration and guys like Oliver Luck made this happen. I am SO glad a local owner is about to buy the Dynamo. I’m not even a fan of Les Alexander, but we’ll actually have a decent payroll and that’s better than what AEG can provide. Dom already dominates with what little money he has, so any increase in payroll just makes things that much more fun.

    As for your comments on bringing guys into Houston and whining about the weather. Well that’s just a typical short sighted response. Breaking news: they’re are people playing soccer below the equator. And did you honestly bring Boyd up as a point against the Dynamo? Lol we lucked out!

    Look, we Dynamo fans will just be glad when AEG leaves. Simple as that. I don’t genuinely thank Anschutz, because any digging into the situation wouldn’t find credit under his name. We have the best SSS stadium because of our city. SJ couldn’t make it happen and our local government did. I’ll keep giving the credit to Oliver Luck, Kinnear, De Le Hoya and Canetti.

  26. bkupp says:

    Phil probably wants to waste more $$ propping up Romney (or maybe he’s already given up and is planning the next step in the “Revolution of the Billionaires”?).

  27. Rigazzi's on the Hill says:

    From what I remember, they were never able to make the sports/entertainment/cable synergies work so dumped the whole portfolio.

  28. Dax says:

    Disney purchased the minority stake in the Angels in 1989 and expansion rights to the Ducks in 1993 in an attempt to help brand Anaheim as a destination and ensure the Angels wouldn’t move to a different city (within OC), which was viewed (inaccurately) as important to Anaheim tourism when the Southland was under going the real estate recession caused by over building.

    The regional sports network ESPN West was an announced over-reaction to the initial success of the national-local FSN concept. As that concept proved to be flawed, Disney pulled back the strategy. You may remember the ESPN West Coming Soon banner in right field during the 1998 season.

  29. Charles says:

    Boyd ?
    Why didn’t you bring up that I am not going to play in Houston either, too hot for me.

  30. Rory says:

    Put me down for Team Billionaires then.

  31. Rory says:

    –IVES, et al: Do you think Anshutz was really more important in the first decade then Lamar Hunt? I guess I’d always just put Hunt up there in my mind and would be interested to hear any opinions.

  32. The Imperative Voice says:

    I wonder what this means for LAG. Will the new owners be as willing to spend? Will LAG remain part of a purchased conglomerate with conglomerate means, or will it be spun off and forced to make its way alone? Which they might do better than most MLS teams still, but perhaps not at their payroll.

    AEG isn’t willing to sell piece by piece? What about the reports AEG and the other Dynamo owners are weighing a franchise sale to Rockets owner Les Alexander?

    In terms of the Dynamo the virtue or vice of the sale goes to the willingness of the new owner to spend a little, and the ability of the management to spend wisely. Ching is the only player who’s had a DP-level contract, Boniek and Landin merely triggered DP with their transfer/ loan fees. Meanwhile LAG has splashed on players. That being said, I’m not sure Kinnear would take splashy purchases if they were offered, and the parallel issue to not having much money has been an appearance of being tight-fisted in negotiations, offering short options, backloaded compensation, etc. Heat is one issue but we have driven off some players by making them trial and offering them “show me what you have and then we’ll keep you and pay you” type deals. If you insert more money in the system with the same mentality we’ll still be threading the needle on acquisitions.

  33. Rowsdower says:

    I’m sure Portland offering MORE money had nothing to do with his decision. Yup sure it didn’t.

    Too hot? How about playing for a class organization and coach.

  34. Aguinaga says:

    Paging massive Chinese government conglomerates, UAE royalty, and Qatari and Russian oil barons/playboys. White courtesy phone.

  35. The Imperative Voice says:

    You have to nuance the “City” comments, I agree the County was not the Dynamo’s pal, dragged their feet, but Bill White as mayor made the deal happen and then his successor made stadiums a campaign issue only to let it happen post-election on the theory that reneging on deals would be bad for business. Of course everyone city and county then shows up for the photos of the completed product.

    I didn’t but the “heat” comments by Boyd initially but if you think about it at the time he was going from Scotland’s Kinnear to his former assistant and fellow Scot Spencer’s Timbers.

    I think Boyd hasn’t set the world on fire but then Dynamo fans need to back up a step and note that after Bruin none of our forwards are exactly producing either. Boyd may have “only” 7, but Ching has just 5, Kandji 3. Hints of our fanboys’ usual chauvinism in suggesting he completely sucks because he didn’t play here. IMO one of the two things the Dynamo must overcome this year is going to be who can knock it in the net (the other is whether the defense is good enough to progress far in the playoffs).

  36. DCLee says:

    That is a funny illusion but hopefully you can tell that his nose and Michael Stephens behind him look to be one when it is both their noses (: Funny pict!

  37. santi says:

    Say goodbye to donovan everton here he comes

  38. Mark says:

    I wonder if he is putting all of their eggs in one basket with the American Football stadium. Perhaps they need the money to buy a new franchise in the NFL.

    It still seems drastic to sell all of AEG’s properties and brands after all of the hard work of Tim Leiweke. What does this mean for Tim? He has created so much positive change in Los Angeles, not only for the sports scene, but with LA Live, for the entertainment culture and sense of community as a whole.

    very sad.

  39. Knuckles says:

    Selling it all, part and parcel, seems odd to me. I’d part out the damn company. Sell the Galaxy, the Kings, etc. and keep the entertainment arm separate.

  40. Jamie says:

    seems like Tim could stay, Phil is just leaving. He’s old, dude might just want to retire.

  41. betamale says:

    No, but we can base it on the most recent round of quantitative easing by the Fed and the subsequent drop of the dollar.

    More economic troubles around the corner. This is good business for AEG

  42. bottlcaps says:

    Well, It might. The agreement with Chivas on the Home Depot Centre is almost up. New Owners of AEG and the HDC might jack up the rent or say “take a hike” to Chivas.

  43. bottlcaps says:

    AEG is building Farmer’s Field, and may hold ownership or partnership in it, but AEG is not (yet) an NLF ownership Franchise. It could be that ANschulz want to own the Franchise outright and NFL rules about ownership may need him to sell AEG. OR Anschulz wants to cash out, maybe AEG is not as profitable as he had hoped. Either way I think the owner will be in the entertainment/sports industry, maybe a multinational like SKY or home grown multimedia group. I doubt it would be a Middle east sheik or overseas sports owner.

    The original AEG founding stake in the MLS has been reduced to just ownership or partnership in a few MLS teams. The Galaxy are profitable, which in a sports market in a nationwide recession is indeed a bright point. I suspect not much will change with the Galaxy and the entity that buys AEG will have the deep pockets to bring in a KAKA or Drogba or even a depressed Ronaldo ( So, Cal sunshine does wonder for depressed footballers) to the Galaxy if the need/opportunity arrives.

    Still uncertainty causes anxiety. So we’ll all keep tabs on this.

  44. ViC El Paso Texas says:

    very interesting, so i guess the NFL keeps killing MLS momentum every year. The NBA and NFL are really good at copying soccer with their marketing and pursuing fans. Only if MLS would be like them and fight back by pursuing their fans and in reality I think basketball fan are similar to soccer fans and the only good football fans are in college which college soccer should attract. maybe becks buys 50% of the team but this should not be happening to teams like the Galaxy, oh i forgot the NFL is a like a dictator sport league in the US.

  45. Nas says:

    Kaka is going to NY and Lampard to LA once the 4th DP is added.

  46. Luke says:

    Monster would have to be rebranded to Galaxy.

    The brand is becoming Cosmo-like.

  47. John says:

    Golden Boy would probably want a piece of the Galaxy….HDC is also a good boxing venue.

  48. Max says:

    Uh, no. There is no George W. bubble in sight.

  49. The Imperative Voice says:

    His framing of the proposed sale as a “transition” atop a supposedly largely intact AEG suggests he simply wants out, like you said. Drayton McLane recently sold the Astros at a similar age and the rumor around here was he wanted to liquidate that stake for estate planning purposes, ie, save the kids having to run it then sell it should he die.

    I think if he was wanting to change the direction of AEG, or had an eye on LA NFL (by expansion or franchise purchase….Jacksonville or the Raiders could probably be had), AEG would be selling assets piecemeal to raise cash but remaining otherwise intact and under his control. They’d also probably mention it right now to set out the welcome mat for interested co-conspirators…”I am selling the Galaxy and Dynamo to focus on bringing a football team to LA [or to move AEG towards concert promotion, or whatever].”

  50. Ed T says:

    No, MLS momentum is still going

  51. Dustbin says:

    Looks like the same group that bought the Dodgers are making a bid: link to marketplace.org

  52. Artman says:

    The next owner of HDC and the Galaxy could be Golden Boy Balls De La Beckhoya Productions

  53. The Imperative Voice says:

    I was always surprised Golden Boy bought into Houston rather than LA, the LA Home Depot Center is where he’s held fights. I assumed maybe they’d run fights in BBVA eventually and that was why, but we’ve not held any yet and he’s part of the group supposed to be selling out here.

    I know the basketball arena has some sort of exclusivity over certain events in town for a period of time, not sure if that covers concerts AEG wanted to hold or boxing Golden Boy meant to have, but it is interesting the would-be purchaser owns the local NBA team.

  54. Kris says:

    I’m not saying Boyd is awful, but I still think we lucked out on that deal. Plus, I can’t just forget about Bruin’s 11 goals. He’s had a phenomenal season for his second year. And don’t forget Davis, he’s got 7 goals (in addition to 11 assists). Ching got his 5 in only 13 starts so that works for me.

    Nonetheless, I agree that finishing is going to be crucial come playoffs. Kandji especially, simply has to finish better. He’s amazing at getting by people and he’s strong as hell, but he’s just got to put the ball in the back of the net. It’s as simple and difficult as it sounds.

    I do think our defense will hold up nicely. No one ever seems too rattled and Hall is playing lights out this year.

  55. soccerfan says:

    Who actually believes Houston’s stadium is the best SSS in MLS? The crown jewel is to the north!