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Madison Square Garden is a logical bidder in AEG sale

September 19, 2012|By Andrew Tangel
  • Fans celebrate the Kings' first Stanley Cup after the team beat the New Jersey Devils in Game 6 of the finals at Staples Center in June.
Fans celebrate the Kings' first Stanley Cup after the team beat the… (Patrick Fallon / Los Angeles…)

NEW YORK -- The Madison Square Garden Co. may be a logical bidder for Staples Center, but would not likely win an auction for the sports and entertainment venue, an analyst said.

Anschutz Entertainment Group --  which owns Staples Center along with the Kings hockey team and Galaxy soccer team, among other assets -- has been put up for sale by billionaire Philip Anschutz.

MSG would be a logical bidder for the teams and the venue, said Laura Martin, an analyst at Needham & Co. Inc. With a market capitalization of $3.1 billion, MSG would be too small to purchase all of AEG, she added.

The New York-based company bought the Forum in Inglewood this year and embarked on a $50-million renovation of the former home of the Lakers basketball team.

But MSG has been disciplined with its purchases, and is unlikely to overpay, Martin said. The company typically buys distressed assets, renovates and operates them, she said.

“Historically, they have been very price conscious," Martin said. "They’ve been very astute buyers, so if these are assets that are going to be at auction and bidding wars, they typically would not be the winning bidder."

An MSG spokeswoman declined to comment.

MSG's shares were down 51 cents in early trading Wednesday, or 1.2%, to $41.25.

Major U.S. stock indexes, meanwhile, were edging higher two hours after the opening bell on Wall Street.


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