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Staples Center owner "sniffing around" Barclays

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Post reports that AEG, the LA-based sports facility operator and promoter, has been talking to Bruce Ratner about buying a majority interest in Barclays Center.  A person with knowledge of the talks confirms details of the Post report to NetsDaily, adding that Philip Anschutz, the owner of AEG has been "sniffing around" the Brooklyn arena.

AEG is the world's largest owner of sports teams, sports events, and sports venues. It owns Staples Center as well as arenas around the U.S. and worldwide and manages an even larger number of facilities.  Anschutz also owns a piece of the Lakers, which would prohibit him from buying a piece of the Nets.  The Post also reported LiveNation, the big arena promoter, may also "kick the tires" of a Barclays purchase, but the source with knowledge of the talks said that it's unlikely to make a bid.

Ratner's Nets Sports & Entertainment partnership owns 55 percent of the arena.  Among those who still own a piece of NS&E are Bucks owner Marc Lasry and Bucks coach Jason Kidd.  Mikhail Prokhorov's ONEXIM Sports and Entertainment, owns the remaining 45 percent.  The Post's Josh Kosman quotes a source as suggesting Prokhorov could also sell all or part of his stake.

Nothing is imminent but the AEG and Ratner's people have met and AEG will likely make a decision on whether to proceed by the end of the month.  There is, however, a large gap in valuation, reports Kosman.

AEG is willing to pay a half billion dollars for Ratner's interest, he writes, but Forest City Enterprises, Ratner's Cleveland-based parent company, wants more, citing expected revenue gains when the Islanders move to Brooklyn next season.

Kosman also suggests that AEG is concerned about what many have termed a "sweetheart" deal between Barclays and the Islanders. He writes, "AEG believes [Brett] Yormark is paying too much to keep the arena booked, sources said. It was Yormark who guaranteed $50 million a year to the New York Islanders once they move to Barclays next season.

“AEG sees the Islanders deal as too risky,” the source said."