AEG, manager of KC’s Sprint Center, no longer for sale

Billionaire Philip Anschutz says he is pulling AEG off the market and the company that owns the Los Angeles Kings and the Staples Center is no longer for sale. AEG also manages and operates the Sprint Center in Kansas City.

Anschutz said in a statement Thursday that he had made clear that he wouldn't sell the company unless the right buyer came forward. He says he will resume a more active role in the company, and Tim Leiweke, who has served as president and CEO, is leaving.

Had Anschutz found a buyer, the sale wasn’t expected to affect the Sprint Center. That’s because AEG has a 35-year contract with the city to manage and operate the center, and it would have been inherited by a buyer.

Leiweke's departure, however, was a surprise, as he and the management team also were expected to be part of any deal.

Kansas City is the smallest market for AEG, and its presence here came about in part because of ties Anschutz, a University of Kansas alumnus and native of Russell, Kan., has with the area.

Another major connection was Leiweke. In the 1980s Leiweke led the Kansas City Comets indoor soccer team. While running the Comets, he became friends with lawyer Herb Kohn, who later approached Leiweke about getting AEG involved with the arena deal.

The AEG investment in the Sprint Center has been profitable, with the facility frequently being cited in trade publications as one of the most well-attended entertainment venues in the country.

The Sprint Center is managed by Brenda Tinnen, a native of Kansas City who was an official at the Staples Center before coming to Kansas City.

AEG's holdings also include the Los Angeles Galaxy, part-ownership of the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers, and major entertainment and real estate holdings in Los Angeles.

AEG also is spearheading a stadium proposal to bring back a professional football team to Los Angeles.