TAKE IT TO THE BANK: US Bank Stadium, home of the Minnesota Vikings, is among ASM Global’s seven NFL accounts. (AP Photo)
AEG scores content deal with Legends as part of agreement
Legends announced Tuesday that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire ASM Global, a deal valued at more than $2.4 billion, according to industry sources.
Financial terms were not disclosed. VenuesNow first reported the proposed merger in July.
The deal, pending federal regulatory approval, expands Legends’ services to facility management in acquiring ASM Global, which runs about 350 arenas, stadiums and convention centers worldwide.
Legends officials would not provide further comment beyond issuing a press release, which stated that AEG and Onyx, a Toronto-based private equity firm, and which both held equity in ASM Global, would sell their interests. ASM Global will continue to run its existing buildings and “in-development” AEG venues, the release stated.
Sources countered that AEG will maintain a piece of ASM Global’s contract to run Allegiant Stadium, to prevent the Las Vegas Raiders, the primary tenant, from executing an escape clause triggered by a sale of the company. The clause would allow the NFL team to approve a transfer of Allegiant’s management to another firm.
Allegiant Stadium is a lucrative concert venue and a big piece of business for ASM Global. Since 2022, the building ranks No. 1 in the U.S. and fourth in the world with concert ticket sales of 1,157, 059, according to box office data provided by Pollstar, VenuesNow’s sister publication.
The Minnesota Vikings have a similar clause in their agreement with ASM Global, which runs US Bank Stadium, sources said. Those clauses are common in the industry.
In addition, sources said AEG has a deal with Legends to provide concerts and other content at venues operated by ASM Global.
“There’s still a lot of sorting out that’s got to get done as to how they’re going to move forward,” said Mike McGee, a consultant and co-founder of Leisure Management International, which ran big league arenas and stadiums from 1984 to 2000 before McGee sold the company to SMG.
“Any time you make a deal like this, there’s some consents that may be required on some of the contracts,” McGee said. “Generally, that gives the party that they’re in contract with the opportunity to refine or renegotiate some areas that may or may not be to their liking at that point in time. Some dynamic may have changed from the time they initiated the contract to the present, and they take that opportunity to use that as a wedge to better the deal in their favor.”
Personnel matters also come into play as a result of further industry consolidation.
Mark Miller, for example, general manager of NRG Park in Houston for 23 years, recently announced his retirement, effective at the end of this year. Industry observers are curious about how the process for selecting Miller’s replacement will be affected by the Legends-ASM deal and the relationship overall with the Harris County Sports and Convention Authority, which owns the 350-acre sports and entertainment complex.
The Legends-ASM Global deal translates to 16 times the value of ASM Global, sources said, a number tied to its long term contracts across the board, which includes a dozen NFL and NBA facilities, plus OVO Arena Wembley and Coca-Cola Arena in Dubai, among ASM’s international accounts.
McGee said he wasn’t surprised by the $2.4 billion number, referencing other deals across sports and entertainment in which big league teams sell for multiple billions of dollars.
“I look back at NBA teams selling for $2 billion to $3 billion,” McGee said. “I sold (the Rockets) for $6.4 million when I first came to Houston. That will tell you from where we were in 1979 to where we are today.”
Legends was founded in 2008 by the Dallas Cowboys and New York Yankees as a concessionaire. Over the past 15 years, it has increased its lines of business to feasibility and market research; owners representation/project management; merchandise; and premium seat and sponsorship sales.
Sixth Street, a global investment firm with more than $74 billion in assets under management, is the majority investor in Legends. In September, Private Equity Partners, a finance publication, reported that a group of lenders, including Ares Management and KKR, were seeking to provide $1.85 billion in financing.
ASM Global was formed in 2019 through a merger between AEG Facilities and SMG. ASM Global serves 164 million guests across five continents.
Moelis & Company are BofA Securities are serving as financial advisors for Legends, with Ropes & Gray serving as legal counsel.
ASM Global’s advisors are Goldman Sachs and Jefferies. Legal advisors are Latham & Watkins, Hogan Lovells and Arnold & Porter.
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated.