In a surprising move, Philip Anschutz — the founder of AEG and a minority owner of the Los Angeles Lakers — sold his 27% stake to Los Angeles Dodgers co-owners Mark Walter and Todd Boehly. The deal became official this week after getting approval from the NBA’s Board of Governors.
Walter owns several businesses in different sectors and is also the Co-Founder and CEO of Guggenheim Partners, a private global financial services firm. Boehly is the Co-Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Eldridge, a holding company that invests in a variety of different businesses.
With the sale, it was announced that Boehly will serve on the board representing himself and Walter and it has also been reported that they will have first right of refusal for all future sales, according to Randall Williams of Sportico:
As part of the deal, Boehly will join the Lakers’ board of directors to represent his and Walter’s interests. The Lakers are controlled by Jeanie Buss, whose late father Jerry bought the team in 1979. The stake includes the right of first refusal on any other Lakers shares that may come to market, putting Walter and Boehly in position to control the team should the Buss family ever decide to sell.
Boehly’s inclusion on the board is interesting, but the most significant portion of the deal is that he and Walter will have the first opportunity to purchase the Lakers if the Buss family sells. However, that may never come to fruition as the Buss family’s ownership stake is in a trust that can not be split among the siblings. The Buss family currently owns 66% of the franchise.
However, with Walter and Boehly on board the Purple and Gold could be more willing to spend on the roster in order to win more championships. Walter and Boehly have spared no expense when it comes to the Dodgers and could be bringing the same attitude to the Lakers.
The glamour franchise of the NBA would surely have its suitors should the Buss family ever decide to put their stake up for sale. But for now, the deal just ties the Lakers and Dodgers even closer together.
Lakers and AEG unaffected by move
Anschutz’s investment in the Lakers was separate from his other holdings and does not affect AEG’s relationship with the franchise. The two sides recently agreed on a 20-year extension for the Lakers to stay in Staples Center through the 2040-41 season. The deal also includes significant upgrades and improvements to the arena.
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