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O.C. BUSINESS PLUS

Ogden Sells Its Concessions, Management Units to Rival

Divestiture: The company will still manage the Pond. Aramark spends $225 million to get into Edison Field and more.

March 31, 2000|MARC BALLON and PHIL WILLON | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

Ogden Corp., which sells hot dogs, beer and munchies at some of Southern California's top sports and entertainment venues, said Thursday it has agreed to sell its food-and-beverage concession and venue-management units to rival Aramark Corp. for $225 million.

A prominent player on the Southland scene, Ogden's entertainment division manages or provides food and beverage service to the Staples Center in Los Angeles, and the Arrowhead Pond and Edison International Field in Anaheim.

Ogden also owns the Sun Theatre in Anaheim and a few stores and restaurants at The Block at Orange, an open-air shopping center.

Though shedding its entertainment and aviation holdings to concentrate on developing and operating energy facilities, New York-based Ogden will continue to manage the Pond.

The company signed a 30-year contract in 1993 to run the arena and agreed to pay most of the facility's $130 million in debt. The company did not elaborate on its decision.

Aramark will assume the concessions contract at the Pond, as well as at Edison Field, the Great Western Forum and Staples Center.

The Pond is home to the Mighty Ducks. The Anaheim Angels play at Edison Field. And the Lakers, Clippers and Kings play at Staples Center.

Michael Roth, director of communications for the Staples Center, said the Ogden sale isn't expected to have a major impact on arena concessions.

The deal also means the end of Ogden's ownership of the Sun Theatre, a 1,500-seat concert venue that was formerly Tinseltown. The Sun opened for business Oct. 1 and has put on 70 shows, including concerts by Bob Dylan, Chris Isaak and Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac.

Philadelphia-based Aramark, the nation's third-largest food-services provider, already holds the concessions contract for Dodger Stadium, Enron Field in Houston and Coors Field in Denver. Ogden customers that will be added to Aramark's roster include Wrigley Field in Chicago, the MCI Center in Washington, D.C., and Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia.

After the deal's conclusion, Aramark will serve more than 75 million people annually at more than 45 professional sports facilities, 30 convention centers and 25 amphitheaters nationwide.

Aramark spokesman Chris Hardwick declined to comment on what changes, if any, Aramark planned to make at the local venues it will be serving.

But Ogden's exit from the entertainment industry was welcome news for some local union officials, who have battled with the company over wages and benefits at Staples and the Pond--and expected Ogden to cut back wages at Edison Field next year.

Food-service workers at the Pond have been working without a contract since July.

In December, union workers at Staples Center complained that Ogden provided short shifts and low pay.

Earlier this month, Ogden announced the sale of its theme-park unit to Alfa Alfa Holdings SA of Greece. That unit included Raging Waters in San Dimas and the 22-acre Castle Amusement Park in Riverside.

As part of the latest deal, which is expected to close within three months, Aramark will also assume $11 million in debt.

Ogden shares closed Thursday at $13.56, up 44 cents on trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

OGDEN CORP. AT A GLANCE

Headquarters: New York

Industries: Entertainment, aviation, energy

President/CEO: Scott G. Mackin

Employees: 21,970 worldwide

Status: Public

Exchange: NYSE

*

SOLD TO ARAMARK

* Food concessions unit that sells food and beverages at convention centers, sports arenas and other locations including these in Southern California:

* Edison International Field, Anaheim

* Staples Arena, Los Angeles

* Great Western Forum, Inglewood

* Venue management unit that operates theaters, hotels, and convention centers worldwide.

*

RETAINS

Ogden Entertainment: Owns and operates themed attractions, casinos, hotels and numerous smaller stores and restaurants.

Ogden Aviation: Airport management, ground handling services, cargo terminals worldwide.

Ogden Energy: Acquisition, development and management of power generation facilities, mostly in the Asia Pacific region.

Net Sales (in billions)

1994 2.1

1995 2.2

1996 2.0

1997 1.7

1998 1.6

1999 1.0*

Net Income (in millions)

1994 66.31

1995 7.44

1996 64.53

1997 75.67

1998 86.97

1999 --82.0**

*Does not include revenue from units sold in 1999.

**Includes one-time charges.

Reported by JANICE JONES DODDS/Los Angeles Times

Source: Bloomberg News, Ogden Corp.

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