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Legends installs ex-Meta executive Dan Levy as CEO

Premium experiences specialist Legends – which agreed a deal to acquire ASM Global last year – has appointed ex-Meta executive Dan Levy as CEO.

Levy, who joined Legends last month as interim president, served at Meta/Facebook for almost 15 years, latterly as VP of business messaging, before departing the company in 2023.

First reported by Sports Business Journal, Levy’s appointment will see former Legends’ CEO Shervin Mirhashemi transition to the position of vice-chair at the company.

“We are poised to take Legends to new horizons at the forefront of sports and entertainment”

“You have my commitment that this next chapter of Legends’ growth trajectory will be the most impressive yet,” Mirhashemi told employees in an email. “With Dan as CEO, together with [co-president and COO] Mike Tomon and the rest of our seasoned management team, we are poised to take Legends to new horizons at the forefront of sports and entertainment.”

Levy’s recent arrival at Legends coincided with the departures of multiple Legends executives, including former co-president and chief corporate officer Curt McClellan and longtime president of hospitality Dan Smith, who moved into a senior advisory role. The firm named Tom Funk as president, hospitality, in January.

Legends’ reputed US$2.4 billion acquisition of ASM Global was announced in November 2023 and is currently awaiting approval from the Department of Justice (DOJ).

ASM Global, which was formed in 2019 following a merger between arena operators AEG Facilities and Onex’s SMG, operates buildings including ICC Sydney Convention Center, Avicii Arena in Stockholm, OVO Arena Wembley, Coca-Cola Arena in Dubai and State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

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

Founded in 2008, Legends is backed by global investment firm Sixth Street. The company’s fully integrated retail and merchandising vertical solution spans e-commerce, in-venue retail, large-scale live events, brick-and-mortar store operations, licensing and customer merchandise.

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.

 


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Legends hires Tom Funk as president, hospitality

Global premium experiences company Legends, which recently acquired venue management giant ASM Global, has appointed Tom Funk as president, hospitality.

Funk brings more than 20 years’ experience in the hospitality industry to his new role, having operated within every venue type and held leadership roles with Levy, Aramark, and Delaware North. He joins Legends from Compass Group, where he has served as EVP of its largest sector, Compass One Healthcare, since 2021. Previously, Funk spent nearly a decade at Levy, including six years as EVP and COO for the global hospitality business.

His appointment comes as Legends’ longtime president of hospitality Dan Smith moves into a new role as a senior advisor.

“The incredible growth and success of Legends’ hospitality business is attributed to Dan’s leadership and guidance since day one. We are grateful for his immeasurable contributions over the past 15 years,” says Legends CEO Shervin Mirhashemi.

“As we continue to focus on growing the business and delivering first-class hospitality experiences for our partners, we are fortunate to have Tom take the reins and lead this next phase. Tom’s stellar reputation as an innovator and operator and his experience growing global platforms ensures he is the right leader for the future.”

“Food & beverage and merchandise play a critical role in delivering an exceptional fan and guest experience”

Founded in 2008, Legends is backed by global investment firm Sixth Street. The company’s fully integrated retail and merchandising vertical solution spans e-commerce, in-venue retail, large-scale live events, brick-and-mortar store operations, licensing and customer merchandise.

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.

“I am thrilled and humbled to be joining the incredibly talented team at Legends,” says Funk. “I have been very fortunate in my career to work with many of the best in the hospitality and sports and entertainment industry, Dan Smith and the entire Legends organisation sit firmly in that group. They have built an amazing business poised for growth.

“Food & beverage and merchandise play a critical role in delivering an exceptional fan and guest experience, and we have a significant responsibility to represent our partners’ brands in the best way possible. I’m excited to continue to evolve and grow our capabilities to ensure we do this, while also providing innovative concepts and solutions that will deliver great outcomes for our partners.”

Legends’ reputed $2.4 billion deal to acquire ASM Global and create a premium global live events company was announced in November. Current ASM 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.

 


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Legends-ASM deal signals shift in venue market

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.”

 


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Legends announces acquisition of ASM Global

Legends has confirmed its long-rumoured acquisition of venue management giant ASM Global, creating a premium global live events company.

The blockbuster deal will enhance Legends’ 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”.

Founded in 2008, premium experiences specialist Legends – which is backed by global investment firm Sixth Street – provides venue planning and project management, premium sales, sponsorship, hospitality and merchandise services.

High-profile 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.

“Legends and ASM Global are both deeply client-centric and fan-focused and together we will deliver maximum value for our global client roster with even greater support and service options,” says Legends CEO Shervin Mirhashemi.

“Welcoming ASM Global to Legends is a capstone achievement in our 15-year journey”

“Welcoming ASM Global to Legends is a capstone achievement in our 15-year journey toward becoming the world’s trusted partner for connecting people with the brands and communities that matter most to them, and for helping our clients create memorable moments that keep their fans and patrons returning time and again.”

Financial terms were not disclosed, but Bloomberg previously reported that Legends was in talks over a US$1.85 billion financing package to fund the acquisition, which will expand both its geographic reach and range of services.

ASM Global, which was formed in 2019 following a merger between arena operators AEG Facilities and Onex’s SMG, operates buildings including ICC Sydney Convention Center, Avicii Arena in Stockholm, OVO Arena Wembley, Coca-Cola Arena in Dubai and State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

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

“We’re thrilled to join Legends, which shares our client-first approach and advances our goal of offering our partner organisations a truly seamless experience while driving the growth of their businesses,” says Ron Bension, president and CEO of ASM Global.

“Our clients will benefit from Legends’ robust services, innovation, technology, and global partnerships which, combined with ASM Global’s venue management and content and event booking expertise, will provide our clients with locally tailored solutions and cutting-edge technologies to achieve outstanding fan experiences and improved venue owner results.”

 


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Legends seeks $1.85bn to acquire ASM Global

Legends Hospitality is reportedly pursuing a US$1.85 billion financing package to fund the potential acquisition of ASM Global, according to a new report in Bloomberg.

The New York-headquartered firm, which is backed by global investment firm Sixth Street Partners, specialises in delivering planning, sales, partnerships, hospitality, merchandise and technology solutions for sports and entertainment.

According to the report, Legends is in discussions with a group of private credit firms led by Ares Management Corp. and KKR & Co. to finance an acquisition of the US-headquartered venue management giant.

A merger with ASM would add facility operations to Legends’ offering, effectively completing a 360-degree business model. It would also see Legends become the world’s biggest third-party facility manager.

The financing package – which would include a number of different flexible loan types ranging in value from $100m to $1.55bn – would help pay for the takeover and refinance existing debt at Legends and ASM.

The deal would see Legends become the world’s biggest third-party facility manager

Alongside Ares Management Corp, the lender group also includes Apollo Global Management Inc. and Oaktree Capital Management.

Rumours of a merger came in July after a Mergermarket story claimed private equity firm Onex Corp, which owns 50% of ASM, had asked Goldman Sachs to oversee a formal sales process for the company.

Two months prior, Mergermarket said Onex and Goldman Sachs, serving in an advisory role, invited a limited number of prospective buyers to express interest in ASM. The group would be pitched to suitors with a projected EBITDA in the region of $250m.

ASM Global runs around 350 arenas, stadiums and convention centres worldwide, including a dozen NFL and NBA venues. AEG Facilities owns the remaining 50% of ASM Global after it merged with the old SMG to form a standalone company in 2019.

Legends counts the New York Yankees, the Dallas Cowboys and the Los Angeles Rams among its US clients. In Europe, it works with teams including Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, Liverpool FC, and Manchester City FC.

 


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