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AEG on Sale: Who Will Buy?

AEG SALE OVER NFL DISPUTE? The price tag on AEG, the #2 concert promoter in the U.S., will hover in the $7-8 billion range, according to published reports. Now the question is, who’ll be among the bidders? Most observers feel the money’s too rich for a single individual, buyer and instead it will attract a bid from a local consortium, maybe even one headed by Patrick Soon-Shiong, who L.A. Times sportswriter T.J. Simers describes as “the richest man in Los Angeles,” someone who recently bought out Magic Johnson’s minority interest in the Lakers.  Insiders insist AEG going on the market is a result of a split between Philip Anschutz and Tim Leiweke over bringing an NFL team back to L.A., with the former tired of being “jerked around” by the league, and the latter wanting to continue his desire to build a downtown football stadium as the jewel to L.A. Live’s continuing development. There’s also a feeling NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and the owners would be more comfortable with local control of a franchise in the hands of Soon-Shiong, who released his own statement: “We are clearly interested in furthering the legacy for L.A.” Said one interested bystander: “It sells to highest bidder. Tim stays. Chargers play downtown. Everyone lives happily ever after.” Others say the deal is nowhere close to complete, and could take awhile to happen, if at all. (9/19p)

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