Mergers & Acquisitions

Industry responds to Legends’ ‘game changer’ ASM Global takeover

ASM Global’s portfolio includes Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas

Featured image credit: Cornfield948/CC BY-SA 3.0 DEED/Edited for size

Industry leaders have been reacting to the announcement that Legends has signed a definitive agreement to acquire ASM Global in a deal set to create the world’s biggest live events business.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The two parties confirmed current ASM Global equity holders Onex and venue operator AEG would sell their ownership interests. ASM Global will continue to serve existing and in-development AEG venues.

A timeline for the takeover to be finalised was not immediately revealed. However, it is understood that regulatory approvals are likely to push completion until the first quarter of 2024.

Legends said that the acquisition would enhance its services portfolio and position the company to “meet the expanding needs of sports organisations, entertainment venues, convention centres, and attractions globally while supporting its vision to deliver exceptional live experiences for fans in the digital age”.

Legends added that the transaction would allow it to “expand its geographic reach and range of services as it continues to innovate”. It said the deal would impact project conception, venue development, content and event booking, merchandising and hospitality.

ASM Global runs around 350 arenas, stadiums and convention centres worldwide, including a dozen NFL American football and NBA basketball venues. Some of these are booking deals and other service agreements. AEG Facilities owns the remaining 50% of ASM Global after it merged with the old SMG in 2019.

Legends’ landmark deal

Shervin Mirhashemi, Legends’ chief executive, hailed the takeover as a landmark deal.

“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,” said Mirhashemi, who served as president of AEG Global Partnerships during a 12-year spell with AEG before he departed for Legends in 2013.

“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.”

ASM: Acquisition can drive growth

Ron Bension, president and chief executive of ASM Global, added: “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.

“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.”

What have people said about the Legends, ASM deal?

On LinkedIn, ASM chief operating officer Peter Loxton gave his reaction. He said: “It is great to see the announcement that Legends has agreed to acquire ASM Global, showing confidence in our industry and the future. Fantastic day and congratulations to all involved to make it happen.”

ASM’s Marie Lindqvist described “exciting times ahead”, while AEG Europe’s John Langford said “really good to see this concluded.”

Outside of the two companies involved, Vadim Kern of Zignage said: “This will be a game changer.” Templ’s Adam Zammit added “this deal seems like a perfect match for the industry”.

How the Legends, ASM deal unfolded

News of a possible deal first emerged in July when it was reported that Onex Corp, the 50% co-owner of ASM Global, had asked Goldman Sachs to oversee a formal sales process.

In September, it was reported that Ares Management and KKR & Co were among a group of private credit firms that had held talks with Legends over providing a $1.85bn (£1.48bn/€1.72bn) financing package to support the company’s potential acquisition of ASM Global.

Legends offers planning, sales, partnerships, hospitality, merchandise and technology solutions. The company is currently leading planning, project management, hospitality, sales and partnerships for the new $1.4bn Buffalo Bills stadium. ASM Global’s portfolio includes Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Friends Arena in Stockholm and Kai Tak Sports Park in Hong Kong.