Los Angeles Business Journal

Villaraigosa Won’t Wait for AEG

By Deborah Crowe, Jacquelyn Ryan Originally published March 14, 2013 at 11:19 a.m., updated March 14, 2013 at 3:33 p.m.

Reacting to Philip Anschutz’s decision to not sell AEG, L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa late Thursday said he wouldn’t wait on the sports and entertainment giant as a partner in modernizing the city’s Convention Center.

Villaraigosa issued a statement expressing skepticism that Anschutz Entertainment Group under Anschutz could successfully negotiate with NFL owners to bring a team to Los Angeles, a plan that included upgrading the Convention Center. He directed staff workers to come up with an alternate plan.

“The city will not wait for AEG, or any other party, to move ahead with the needed improvements to make our Convention Center a premier destination for meetings and conventions,” Villaraigosa said.

Anschutz, AEG’s billionaire owner and chairman, announced Thursday that he had decided not to sell the Los Angeles-based company, owner of the L.A. Live complex because no interested bidder had met his terms. He also said Tim Leiweke, its longtime chief executive and the face of the company in Los Angeles, would be stepping down.

Anschutz put AEG up for sale in September for what insiders estimate was $8 billion. L.A.’s Colony Capital LLC, operated by billionaire Thomas Barrack, was believed to be the highest bidder for the company, though its offer was said to be short of AEG’s asking price.

Other potential bidders included West L.A. biotech billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong and L.A. Dodgers owners Guggenheim Partners LLC.