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AEG sale: Guggenheim Partners and Soon-Shiong form bidding group

Government And Business Leaders Speak At Urban Economic Forum In Los Angeles

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Magic Johnson greets Patrick Soon-Shiong during a Urban Economic Forum co-hosted by White House Business Council and U.S. Small Business Administration. They could be partners (sort of) if Soon-Shiong and Guggenheim Partners buy AEG.

Patrick Soon-Shiong — the richest man in Los Angeles, minority owner of the Lakers, and recently thwarted suitor for the Dodgers — has reportedly hooked up with none other than the investors who did the thwarting on his billion-plus bid for the Boys in Blue: Guggenheim Partners.

Or at least the adventurous investing subset of Guggenheim — a relatively staid Chicago-based manager of insurance-fund investments and other assets totaling around $180 billion — made up of CEO Mark Walter and executive Tim Boehly. They formed Guggenheim Baseball Management with Magic Johnson as a front man to snatch the Dodgers away from Soon-Shiong and hedge-funder Steven Cohen at the eleventh hour, with a bid more than $500 million above what anyone had expected.

It was the biggest deal in U.S. sports up to that point. But if Soon-Shiong, Walter, Boehly and whoever else they yank onboard manages to buy all of AEG, the deal would blow the Dodgers' $2 billion away. It could go for anywhere from $4 billion to even as high as $7 or $8 billion.

Reuters reported this development today.

It's worth noting that Guggenheim has been called out for diving into such risky investments, using money from funds that are supposed to be conservatively deployed in order to to seal the deal.

It's possible to make the argument that AEG, by virtue of being a diversified sports and entertainment holding company, is less risky than the Dodgers. But engaging in what could be more than $10 billion is acquisitions in a year... Well, it's heavy-duty for Guggenheim, which was relatively low-profile in the Dodgers deal before sweeping in with the massive late bid.

If it comes through, it would given Guggenheim ownership of the Dodgers and the Galaxy, plus stakes in the Lakers and Kings — and the prospect of owning an NFL team, if the downtown stadium project stays on track and a team can be convinced to move to L.A.

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