For sale: company that runs Target Center

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 19, 2012 - 3:54 PM

The company that operates the city-owned Target Center, promotes concerts and owns other sports and entertainment venues around the world is for sale.

Denver-based Anschutz Co. said Tuesday that it was "commencing a process" to sell subsidiary Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG).

The giant promotions company owns or co-owns everything from London's O2 Arena to Los Angeles' Staples Center and the city's Lakers and Kings professional sports franchises. It also has been actively pursuing placement of an NFL team in Los Angeles.

Along with operating Target Center - home to the Timberwolves and Lynx pro basketball teams - and promoting concerts in the Twin Cities, AEG also owns what debuted as the Brick, a 2,100-capacity Warehouse District venue that opened in March with a sold-out concert by Jane's Addiction. AEG changed the name to Mill City Nights and cut capacity to 1,200 after that concert's staging drew a chorus of complaints about crowding.

AEG's president is Tim Leiweke, who started his managing career running Target Center and was Timberwolves vice president for the team's first four years.

It wasn't immediately clear how far along the company is in the sale process, or whether it has entertained any offers. The price for AEG could be well into the billions.

Anschutz Co. said in the statement that it has hired as financial advisers the Blackstone Group, which recently managed the sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers to a group that includes former Lakers star Magic Johnson.

"Given the success of the management team and employees in establishing AEG as one of the premier real estate development, live sports and entertainment platforms in the world," Anschutz president Cannon Y. Harvey said in a statement, "this is an appropriate time to transition AEG to a new qualified owner. This process represents a unique opportunity to maximize value for all concerned."

AEG's holdings also include the pro soccer team Los Angeles Galaxy, part-ownership of the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers, and major entertainment and real estate holdings in downtown Los Angeles. Outside of Los Angeles, AEG owns Major League Soccer's Houston Dynamo and New York's Barclay's Center, the new home of the NBA's Brooklyn Nets. It also owns arenas in Sweden, China and Australia.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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