AEG to merge with SMG to create new global venue behemoth

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AEG to merge with SMG to create new global venue behemoth

AEG has announced a merger of its venue management subsidiary AEG Facilities with SMG. The move creates a new standalone global facility management company – ASM Global.

SMG is an Onex portfolio company and Onex and AEG’s subsidiary will each own 50% of the new entity, following the completion of the transaction. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The new diversified portfolio includes arenas, stadiums, convention centres and performing arts centres, with more than 310 venues across five continents.

Wes Westley, Chief Executive Officer and President of SMG, said, “This merger is a major step for our industry. We are excited to bring together these complementary businesses to further elevate the standard of excellence in venue management. We plan to accelerate innovation by combining our expertise to deliver increased value and offer enhanced capabilities to municipalities and venue owners worldwide. At the same time, we expect that this transaction will offer employees at both our corporate headquarters and field operations tremendous new opportunities.”

Bob Newman, current President of AEG Facilities and formerly a Regional Vice-President at SMG, added: “This transaction draws upon the depth of our combined talent and resources to create an organisation that will deliver value and long-term success, as well as innovative services to our clients around the world.”

Following the completion of the transaction, Newman will be named President and CEO of ASM. Westley will join ASM’s Board of Directors.

ASM will be headquartered in Los Angeles, CA, with key operations based in West Conshohocken, PA, a suburb of Philadelphia.

Dan Beckerman, President and Chief Executive Officer of AEG, said of the deal: “AEG Facilities has flourished under Bob’s leadership since it was established a decade ago and this combination will position ASM for growth by joining the resources and talents of these two companies. ASM will offer an impressive array of capabilities that will accelerate the development and deployment of new services and bring diverse business, sports and entertainment experiences to municipalities, partners and fans around the world.”

Amir Motamedi, a Managing Director of Onex, added: “With Wes at the helm, SMG became a gold standard in venue management. We are grateful for his stewardship over the last 25 years and look forward to his continued involvement on the board. Looking forward, we are thrilled to be partnering with Bob Newman and the talented AEG team to create a larger, more diverse company to better serve ASM’s clients.”

AEG will retain ownership of its real estate holdings outside of this venture, including its entertainment districts and owned venues in Los Angeles, London, Hamburg and Berlin, as well as its extensive development, sports, music and sponsorship divisions.

The transaction is expected to be completed later this year subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals.

SMG manages more than 20m square feet of exhibition space and over 1.6m sports and entertainment seats. SMG Europe manages entertainment venues and food and beverage operations at locations throughout Europe, including in the UK, Germany, and Poland.

In Australia, the regional Asia-Pacific Head Office for ASM Global will remain in the country under the leadership of the long-standing AEG Ogden Executive Team.

AEG Ogden currently manages convention and exhibition centres in Brisbane, Cairns, Darwin, Kuala Lumpur, Oman, and ICC Sydney; indoor entertainment arenas including Sydney’s Qudos Bank Arena, Brisbane Entertainment Centre and adjacent Sports Centre, the Newcastle Entertainment Centre, RAC Arena in Perth, and Dubai Arena (opening April 2019); and Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane. AEG Ogden is also progressing the new Brisbane Live arena and entertainment precinct for Brisbane. 

These venues will become part of the new ASM stable of 310 arenas, stadia, convention centres and theatres across five continents.

AEG Ogden Chairman and CEO, Harvey Lister described the merger as a true “game changer” for the industry. “[It] will deliver significantly positive outcomes to our operations at our venues. In the meantime, its business as usual.” 

Onex is an established private equity firm with more than US$33bn of assets under management.

Onex’ businesses have assets of $52bn and employ approximately 218,000 people worldwide.

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World. Write Paul an E-mail