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International venue managers ASM Global acquired by Legends

International venue managers ASM Global acquired by Legends
November 8, 2023

Premium experiences company Legends has announced the signing of a definitive agreement to acquire ASM Global, the global manager of sport and entertainment venues.

A statement released overnight advises that the acquisition will “create a premium live events company dedicated to providing outstanding experiences for fans around the world” adding “the acquisition of ASM Global’s venue management capabilities will enhance Legends’ services portfolio, positioning Legends to meet the expanding needs of sports organizations, entertainment venues, convention centres, and attractions globally while supporting its vision to deliver exceptional live experiences for fans in the digital age.”

The pending acquisition adds significant capabilities to the Legends portfolio.

Founded in the USA state of Texas in 2008, Legends has built itself from the joint concessions business for original co-owners, the Dallas Cowboys and New York Yankees, into a global services business offering premium hospitality, venue planning, sponsorship valuation and naming rights consulting plus sales, ticketing, fundraising and ecommerce solutions, among other businesses.

Now majority owned by private equity firm Sixth Street, Legends recently has struck deals to revamp Real Madrid’s stadium, invest in and manage some business lines for upstart hockey league 3ICE and secure a uniform patch partner for the Yankees.

ASM Global manages more than 300 venues, an area that Legends largely hasn’t been involved in, including NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas, USA; Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane and the Mercedes-Benz Arena in the Chinese city of Shanghai among a portfolio also includes arenas, stadia, theatres, convention centres and equestrian centres.

Commenting on the acquisition in a statement released overnight, Legends Chief Executive, Shervin Mirhashemi advised “if you look at the complementary capabilities, Legends is going to be able to support our clients down the road, from project conception and planning all the way to venue development.

“We can then do the management content, event booking, revenue strategies and sales execution, and then merchandising and hospitality services. It really will be a well-rounded platform. Obviously there are some very formidable competitors in this collective space, but we really believe that we are going to be best in class.

“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. “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.”

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 organizations 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.”

ASM Global is being sold by co-owners AEG and Onex Group, a Canada-based private equity firm. While terms of the deal haven’t been disclosed, though finance industry publication Private Equity Insights reported in September that a consortium of lenders including Ares Management and KKR were seeking to provide Legends $1.85 billion in financing for the acquisition.

The deal won’t be official until a regulatory review is concluded, a process not likely to be completed until early 2024.

After the acquisition, ASM Global will continue to service properties owned by AEG, the venue arm of billionaire LA Kings owner Philip Anschutz.

Image: ASM Global serves 164 million customers annually through its management of sport and entertainment venues, including the Mercedes-Benz Arena in the Chinese city of Shanghai.

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