Billionaire Philip Anschutz has reached an agreement to sell his minority share of the Los Angeles Lakers, according to Scott Soshnick and Eben Novy-Williams of Sportico.
Anschutz, 81, has yet to receive approval from the NBA Board of Governors to complete the deal for 27 percent of the franchise, and the buyer has not yet been publicly identified. The minority share represents the second-largest stake in the Lakers behind the Buss family, which maintains control over the team with 66 percent.
It's unclear whether or not Anschutz's right of first refusal on a wider sale of the franchise is transferring to the prospective buyer. Anschutz Entertainment Group also owns Staples Center, where the Lakers extended their lease through 2041.
Dan Beckerman, the CEO of AEG, told Sportico the sale “is part of some financial planning and redeployment of capital to other AEG projects and growth initiatives" and that the company plans to expand "business lines and geography."
AEG has a massive footprint in the live event space. The company owns Coachella Music Festival, Walden Media, Dignity Health Sports Park, The O2 Arena, and Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin. It also operates Target Center, BBVA Stadium and Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.
That's on top of helping co-found Major League Soccer‚ operating the Colorado Rapids and owning the NHL's Los Angeles Kings.
The Lakers' president of business operations, Tim Harris, told Sportico it did not expect the team's relationship with AEG to change with the sale of Anschutz's stake in the team and referred to the potential deal as an "additive."
“Given the lease extension, we look forward to another 20 years–plus–of business with AEG,” Harris said. “There isn’t a lot that changes. We get to add more partners. We don’t view this as Phil is going anywhere.”
The report notes Anschutz has no plans to sell any of his other assets. The native of Russell, Kansas, is worth an estimated $15.8 billion, making him the 133rd-richest person in the world, according to Bloomberg.