AEG, Australia's Ogden IFC Pair On JV

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MELBOURNE, Australia -- Los Angeles-based sports and entertainment presenter AEG has acquired an interest in Australian venue operator Ogden IFC and created a new 50/50 joint venture called AEG Ogden.

The partnership will operate arenas, theaters, stadiums and convention and exhibition centers across the Asian region, the Middle East/North Africa and the western Pacific, including Australia and New Zealand. Financial details were not disclosed.

The new company will be led by Brisbane, Australia-based Ogden IFC chairman/CEO Harvey Lister and executive director Rod Pilbeam, who will work with AEG's CEO Bob Newman.

Lister tells Billboard that the most immediate growth is expected in China, India and the Gulf region of the Middle East. "There is a lot of private and government investment there," Lister says, "and both companies have strong commercial models that work closely with government entities as well as private sector venue developers."

It has made bids for projects in the Gulf and China set to start next year. AEG Ogden is also one of three consortiums bidding for the Singapore Hub, which includes a 55,000-seat stadium and a 12,000 indoor stadium.

The joint venture brings to 65 the number of venues affiliated with AEG Ogden.

This creates one of the largest venue and events businesses in the world, AEG's CEO Newman said in a statement. "The collection of associated facilities will provide a single entity of unmatched strength capable of maximizing event activity, sponsorship revenues and the highest levels of guest services as well as providing capital to the advantage of the entire network of venues," he said.

AEG owns or provides services to a collection of facilities such as Staples Center (Los Angeles), Nokia Theatre Times Square, the El Rey Theatre (Hollywood) the WaMu Theatre (Seattle, WA), and three just-opened arenas, Sprint Center (Kansas City), Prudential Center (Newark) and the O2 in London.

Ogden IFC operates 16 venues including Telstra Stadium in Sydney, Newcastle Entertainment Center and the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Center, plus venues in Malaysia, Qatar and India. These sites generated AUS$188 million ($1566.5 million) in ticket sales and hosted 7.4 million patrons in the last year, according to the company. Unlike AEG, Ogden has a greater number of convention centers, and delivers software and hardware to some of the venues it operates.

Christie Eliezer is Billboard's Australia bureau chief.
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