AEG Sale Off; Tim Leiweke Steps Down As L.A.-Based CEO
The for sale sign outside the door of Anschutz Entertainment Group, owner of Staples Center, LA Live and London's 02 arena, has been taken down, the company announced.
Not only that but Tim Leiweke, the company's L.A.-based president and CEO and the architect of plans to build a $1.5 billion stadium next to LA Live, is out "by mutual agreement," the company stated this morning.
The sale had called the stadium plans into question:
Why would some one want to pay $8 billion for a company, including a concert promoter and interest in sports teams including the Lakers, Kings and Galaxy, when it's planning to build a $1 billion-plus stadium?
Leiweke, along with sports agent Casey Wasserman, took an active role in selling the stadium plan successfully to the L.A. City Council and to the public. It's not clear if the project will move forward under AEG's new regime.
Philip F. Anschutz, the Denver-based billionaire who basically owns the company, "will resume a more active role" in AEG's affairs, the company stated.
From the very beginning of the sales process, we have made it clear to our employees and partners throughout the world that unless the right buyer came forward with a transaction on acceptable terms we would not sell the Company.
[Added at 3:24 p.m.]: Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa today called on AEG to step up its efforts to find an NFL team to move to L.A. His statement in full:
For the past three years, the City has expedited our process and lived up to our end of a deal to bring the NFL to Los Angeles and create a world-class convention center.
Now that AEG is no longer for sale and they have indicated that bringing an NFL team to LA remains a priority, I call on AEG to live up to its commitment by immediately sitting down with the NFL to reach an agreement.
However, 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. Last year, we saw a record number of visitors come to Los Angeles and those visitors help drive our economy, fill our hotel rooms and take advantage of the numerous sports and entertainment options that we offer.
We will continue to pursue the important work of making Downtown LA a better place to work, live, visit and dine regardless of whether the NFL and AEG reach that agreement.
I am directing the CAO to provide me options within the next 30 days that provide a path forward to ensure that the convention center modernization project moves ahead no matter what.