Venue-operator giants AEG and SMG merge to create ‘behemoth’


ASIA-PACIFIC’s AEG Ogden is set to be renamed as ASM Global following a merger between two of the world’s biggest venue operators, according to reports.

ASM Global will oversee some 310 venues across five continents and a further announcement is expected next week at AIME 2019 in Melbourne on how the deal affects facilities in Asia.

The merger of AEG Facilities with SMG has been described by one side as a "major step" for the industry by creating the world’s largest venue operator. Some media reports have described the new entity as a “behemoth” while Australia-based The Music Network reported that the merger will mean AEG Ogden will change its title to ASM Global.

More on the Shenzhen World facility…

Meanwhile, it was announced at AIME 2019 that AEG Ogden will manage the Te Pae Christchurch facility, which is expected to open in 2020. Russ Steele, who was general manager of Cairns Convention Centre, has been appointed to lead the new Christchurch CBD venue.

SMG was appointed in October 2017 to Shenzhen World Exhibition and Convention Centre, which will be the biggest business-event venue on the planet when it fully opens. The new Shenzhen centre’s first phase is expected to open in the first quarter of 2019.

However, AEG’s global headquarters in Los Angeles has so far reserved comment on what part the 500,000 sqm facility next to Shenzhen International Airport in Bao’an district will play in ASM Global’s portfolio. It is understood that further details of the new company will be revealed during the Asia-Pacific Incentive Meetings and Events show at Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.

AEG Ogden, which operates facilities such as Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre and ICC Sydney, has referred questions from MIX regarding ASM Global’s role in China in the Shenzhen World project to its global offices in Los Angeles.

AEG executiveds say the merger will have to be processed through three jurisdictions before further comment can be made about the new entity's operations at Shenzhen World and other facilities across the region.

"This merger is a major step for our industry. We are excited to bring together these complementary businesses to further elevate the standard of excellence in venue management,” said Wes Westley, CEO and president of SMG.

Space shortage and Shenzhen post threat…

“We plan to accelerate innovation by combining our expertise to deliver increased value and offer enhanced capabilities to municipalities and venue owners worldwide. At the same time, we expect that this transaction will offer employees at both our corporate headquarters and field operations tremendous new opportunities,” said Westley.

The merger is subject to US regulatory approval.

In a statement, AEG said ASM Global would be headquartered in Los Angeles with key operations in Philadelphia where SMG was based. The company will operate more than 300 arenas, stadiums, convention venues and performing arts centres worldwide. In addition to venues in Kuala Lumpur and Sydney, AEG Ogden operates convention centres in Brisbane, Cairns, Darwin and Oman among others.


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