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Aborted AEG sale has informed future direction of the live giant, says CEO

By | Published on Monday 14 April 2014


Live music giant AEG has plans for further expansion, according to the Wall Street Journal, having regrouped after an aborted attempt to sell the company just over a year ago.

As previously reported, Anschutz Entertainment Group owner Philip Anschutz put his entertainment company on the market in 2012, but called off his plans to sell just over a year ago after failing to find a buyer willing to pay the $8 billion+ asking price. Some executive changes followed the aborted sale, with former CFO Dan Beckerman becoming CEO.

He has now told the Journal that his post-sale strategy for the company was very much influenced by the sale process, in that sales talks made him and AEG management refocus on what were the most important elements of the business, resulting in the offloading of some periphery assets.

The focus, now, it seems, is on AEG’s venue real estate (the area where the company is really dominant), and on better utilising the firm’s AEG Live concert promotion business to support its venue network, perhaps by encouraging new US talent to tour internationally earlier in their careers, providing shows for AEG’s smaller venues around the world.

Another focus for AEG in 2014 is further expanding the company’s relatively new ticketing venture and other digital assets. AEG management know that their ticketing platform is a small player in the wider ticket sales space, but high on the agenda for the near future is encouraging more non-AEG venues and shows to use the service.

Describing the sale process as “sort of eye-opening”, Beckerman has said in an interview: “What was important to [possible buyers] and what they got excited about – it didn’t necessarily coincide with what we’d always thought”. That new focus will inform AEG’s next round of expansion, Beckerman added, noting that that might mean turning down business opportunities that the AEG of two years ago may have embraced.

Says the CEO: “It’s about being selective and not being distracted with every opportunity that comes our way”.