Live Nation Entertainment Inc. (LYV:US), the world’s largest concert promoter, and billionaire Philip Anschutz’s entertainment company will compete to operate London’s Olympic Stadium after the games end in August.
Executives at Live Nation, based in Beverly Hills, California, and Los Angeles-based Anschutz Entertainment Group said separately in interviews yesterday they will offer to manage the 80,000-seat venue, which will host the opening and closing Olympic ceremonies.
The arena is the U.K.’s third-largest, behind Wembley Stadium and Twickenham Stadium. Live Nation, which operates 200 venues, would fill it with concerts and other events, Chief Executive Officer Michael Rapino said yesterday in a telephone interview. He said the company’s interest will depend on price.
“It’s a prestigious stadium,” Rapino said. “We will make a competitive offer. If we can secure it, we will.”
The Olympic Games start on July 27 and run through Aug. 12. AEG, which operates the O2 Arena in London, has held discussions with the committee running the arena about the process of bidding for the management rights, Rod O’Connor, executive vice president of AEG Facilities in Europe, said yesterday in an interview.
The closely held company, which is proposing to build a $1 billion stadium to host a National Football League team in Los Angeles, would benefit from economies of scale and other efficiencies by operating both London venues, O’Connor said.
“The Olympic stadium is an iconic venue and we are excited about the opportunity to manage that venue after the Olympics,” O’Connor said.
The U.K. government started seeking an operator for the 537 million pound ($865 million) stadium, the centerpiece of London’s 2012 games, in October after an agreement to sell the facility to the soccer team West Ham United Football Club Ltd. failed because of legal challenges.
West Ham bid to be the main anchor tenant of the venue in London’s east end, Karen Brady, the club’s chairwoman, said in a March 23 statement. Essex County Cricket Club submitted an offer with the University of East London to use the stadium after the Summer Games, according to a statement.
A spokeswoman for the London Legacy Development Corp., which is selling and leasing facilities built for the 2012 Olympics, wasn’t immediately available for comment.
Live Nation’s Rapino spoke after the company reported a wider first-quarter loss because of a higher tax bill. The shares rose 10 percent to $9.14 at 1:36 p.m. in New York. Before today, the stock was unchanged this year.
AEG, which is controlled by Anschutz, 72, the Denver-based billionaire, jointly bid for the stadium with Premier League team Tottenham Hotspur in November 2010. AEG operates Staples Center, the Nokia Theatre and the LA Live complex in Los Angeles.
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