THE DEALMAKER: Media, sports and live-entertainment mogul Philip Anschutz prefers to stay out of the spotlight. The Denver-based billionaire (Forbes estimates his net worth at $8 billion, rating him 36th on the mag’s wealth list) has declined press interview requests for the last 30 years. But his entertainment-
related deals and companies are well known to industryites: as majority stockholder of Regal Entertainment Group (the largest theater chain in the U.S. with 6,776 screens), as instrumental in bringing David Beckham to the L.A. Galaxy (a reported $250 million deal), as the chairman of AEG (Anschutz Entertainment Group — a wholly owned subsidiary of the Anschutz Co.) and as the visionary behind the development of two downtown L.A. projects, the Staples Center and LA Live, the latter to fully open Dec. 1.
At an estimated cost of at least $2.5 billion, now fully leased, LA Live aims to be a one-stop, live entertainment campus that includes an ESPN production studio, the Nokia Theater, numerous dining options, nightclubs, a 14-screen cineplex, two new hotels and office space. Economic impact on Los Angeles could be substantial — the firm estimates some $10 billion — and in its first year of operation, the Nokia Theater, which opened in late 2007, is on track to host 125 events. The adjacent Staples Center hosts events and pro sports teams 240 nights a year. A portion of the Staples Center’s financing included city bonds and redevelopment funds; LA Live’s deal includes hotel tax rebates over the next two decades.
LA Live is just one development in AEG’s portfolio that includes more than 29 arenas worldwide, such as O2 in London and the newly opened O2 World in Berlin.
Anschutz also backs family-oriented Walden Media (“Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D,” “The Chronicles of Narnia” and the upcoming “City of Ember”) as well as Bristol Bay Prods. (“Sahara”).
KEY DEALS: LA Live, which will produce an estimated economic impact of $10 billion, create more than 25,000 jobs and generate $18 million in new annual tax revenues.