Hammonds bags Anschutz instruction for Manchester arena acquisition

Hammonds has won its first instruction for Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), a company owned by American billionaire tycoon Philip Anschutz, the current redeveloper of the Millennium Dome and founder of Qwest Communications.

Hammonds real estate partner Paul Groobey advised AEG on its acquisition of the Manchester Evening News (MEN) Arena complex, Europe’s largest indoor entertainment venue. AEG is understood to have paid around £50m for the venue, which last year hosted concerts by performers such as Justin Timberlake, Elton John and Paul McCartney.

Anschutz is perhaps best known in the UK market for stepping into the breach to save the ill-fated Millennium Dome, where he is to build a 26,000-seat arena.

His US telecoms company Qwest Communications has also hit the headlines following a Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) investigation into allegations of fraud and false accounting.
Allegations against Anschutz settled out of court, although trials against other executives still continue.

Groobey won the instruction through AEG contact Jayne
McGivern, who has recently joined the company. Groobey had dealt with McGivern when she was at property company Marylebone Warwick Balfour.

Previous UK legal advisers to AEG include Herbert Smith (Patrick Robinson) and Denton Wilde Sapte (Simon Levine), who both advised on the Dome deal. Denver-based Holme Roberts & Owen acted on the US aspects.

Forbes lists Anschutz as one of Denver’s richest men, with an estimated fortune of around $5bn (£2.72bn). He owns the NHL Los Angeles Kings, part of the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers, he is the largest movie theatre owner in the US and also owns Walden Media, a New York movie-maker.