Denver multibillionaire Philip Anschutz is a man of varied interests. His holding company includes an eclectic stable of entertainment, media, and sports businesses, in addition to telecom and energy development. Through Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), Anschutz promotes concerts and other events and owns 120 sports and entertainment centers such as Staples Center and Best Buy Theater. It also owns soccer, and other pro teams in the US and Europe (including the NHL's Los Angeles Kings and a stake in the Los Angeles Lakers). Other Anschutz holdings include movie chain Regal Entertainment Group, the family-oriented Anschutz Film Group, and the San Francisco Examiner newspaper.
Philip Anschutz, who founded the firm in 1958, made his first fortune in the oil and gas industry. He also founded Qwest Communications. After selling some 40 million shares of Qwest in 2007, he remained the telecom's second-largest shareholder until 2009 when he sold the rest. But you can't take the man completely out of telecom after all: In 2008 the Anschutz Company acquired LightEdge Solutions, a telecom and telephony company.
But it doesn't stop there. If Anschutz Company is anything, it is diverse. Anschutz Entertainment and the NBA have announced plans to build a dozen sports and entertainment arenas in China. The company also acquired Xanterra Parks & Resorts, the US' largest operator of lodging and restaurants within national parks, state parks, and resorts (including locations at the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, and Mount Rushmore). In 2010 it was part of an investment consortium that bought resort firm Sea Island Company out of bankruptcy.
Anschutz Company's newest venture is the development of two major wind energy projects in south central Wyoming. An Anschutz affiliate, Power Company of Wyoming, is planning a wind farm with 1,000 turbines, which will produce 2,000 to 3,000 megawatts of power. Its TransWest Express affiliate is working on an 800-mile, 600 kilovolt power transmission project that will transport wind power from Wyoming to the desert southwest in order to serve cities such as Las Vegas.
Anschutz's AEG Live division made headlines in 2009 when it agreed to promote 50 performances as part of a comeback tour for Michael Jackson. The "This is It" performances at London's O2 Arena were sold out and the company stood to earn millions. However, the King of Pop suddenly died that year and AEG was left to refund all of the tickets.
But AEG continues to promote other big concerts. It is behind the popular Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in California. AEG also oversaw the development of L.A. Live, a 4 million sq. ft. US sports, residential, and entertainment project in downtown Los Angeles. – less