The latest industry news to your inbox.

I'd like to hear about marketing opportunities


I accept IQ Magazine's Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy


Legends-ASM deal signals shift in venue market

Legends' reported $2.4bn acquisition of ASM Global promises to usher in a new era in the venue management sector

By James Hanley on 08 Nov 2023

AO Arena Manchester

Legends’ blockbuster acquisition of ASM Global promises to usher in a new era in the venue management sector as the company battles for international market supremacy with Oak View Group.

The reputed $2.4 billion deal to create a premium global live events company was announced yesterday (7 November).

Launched four years ago following a merger between arena operators AEG Facilities and Onex’s SMG, ASM operates buildings including ICC Sydney Convention Center, Avicii Arena in Stockholm, OVO Arena Wembley, Coca-Cola Arena in Dubai, Brooklyn’s Barclays Center and State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

Current ASM Global equity holders AEG and Ondex will sell their ownership interests as part of the agreement, while ASM will continue to serve existing and in-development AEG venues.

“[The] announcement is the culmination of the journey AEG and Onex embarked on in early 2019 when we completed the merger of AEG Facilities and SMG to form ASM Global,” says Dan Beckerman, president and CEO of AEG. “Our purpose has been clear from the start – to drive ASM’s growth and create significant value for ASM and its clients. Despite the tremendous impact of the pandemic, we were able to unlock substantial business value over the past four years with ASM growing both its revenues and global portfolio.”

AEG-owned venues including The O2 in London, AccorHotel Arena in Paris, Germany’s Barclays Arena in Hamburg and Mercedes-Benz Arena Berlin and Los Angeles’ Crypto.com Arena will remain under AEG control.

“While we will no longer be an owner in ASM, we look forward to continuing to work with the company and its talented leadership team”

“This transaction will allow us to focus on the continued growth of AEG’s core businesses, including our owned and operated real estate and venues and our live entertainment and ticketing business,” says Ted Fikre, vice chairman and chief legal and development officer of AEG. “AEG has enjoyed our successful partnership with Onex and, while we will no longer be an owner in ASM, we look forward to continuing to work with the company and its talented leadership team as they pursue ongoing success under the stewardship of Legends as the new owner.”

The transaction, which is subject to regulatory approvals, is targeted to close in 2024.

“We are extremely grateful to the entire ASM leadership team for their unwavering dedication to positioning the business for success, in particular during the unparalleled operating environment they faced during the pandemic, which has allowed ASM to recover so strongly and have great long-term prospects,” says Kosty Gilis, MD at Onex Partners. “We would also like to thank AEG who have been wonderful partners consistent with their impeccable reputation in the marketplace.”

Founded in 2008, Sixth Street-backed premium experiences specialist Legends provides venue planning and project management, premium sales, sponsorship, hospitality and merchandise services. Its clients include prestigious brands such as Real Madrid, SoFi Stadium, Dallas Cowboys, FC Barcelona, New York Yankees, and Ryder Cup, as well as the NFL, MLB, NASCAR, PGA of America and FIFA World Cup.

“We believe ASM is being acquired by an outstanding company in Legends who will take the business to new heights,” adds Amir Motamedi, MD at Onex Partners. “We wish them much success in the coming years as they continue to grow the business and serve customers globally.”

“I always remind our folks, stay focused on us”

Legends says the ASM deal will enhance its services portfolio, positioning it to “meet the expanding needs” of sports organisations, venues and attractions around the globe, while “supporting its vision to deliver exceptional live experiences for fans in the digital age”.

The experiences and hospitality realms are increasing priorities for the sector. Fellow venue giant Oak View Group (OVG), which was founded in 2015 by former AEG CEO Tim Leiweke and ex-Live Nation chairman Irving Azoff, oversees the operations of new venues such as Climate Pledge Arena at Seattle Center, UBS Arena in Belmont Park, New York, and Moody Center in Austin, Texas, and Acrisure Arena in Palm Springs, California, as well as the Co-op Live development in Manchester, UK.

OVG upped its offering with its acquisitions of Philadelphia-based venue management firm Spectra and Rhubarb Hospitality Collection.

OVG boss Leiweke attempted to play down the rivalry between the two behemoths in an appearance on The Bob Leftsetz Podcast earlier this year.

“I always remind our folks, stay focused on us,” said Leiweke. “We’re the greatest asset we have and we’re our own worst enemies. So stay focused on us. We’re going to be great, not because ASM is bad. We’re going to be great because OVG is going to excel.”


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.