Most Oklahomans probably know little about the soon-to-be new owner of OPUBCO, which includes The Oklahoman, but there is a good chance they may have viewed a movie in one of his theaters, watched his professional sports teams on television or eaten at a national park restaurant operated by one of his companies.
The Anschutz Corp., a company owned by Denver businessman Philip Anschutz, has agreed to purchase The Oklahoma Publishing Co., with the deal scheduled to close in early October.
“Phil Anschutz is one of America's most capable, accomplished and respected businessmen,” said Chesapeake Energy Corp. CEO and co-founder Aubrey K. McClendon, who recently was involved in an oil and gas deal with Anschutz. “Chesapeake acquired $850 million of oil and gas properties from Phil last year, and he was terrific to work with, and I think all Oklahomans can be very comfortable and grateful that Phil is the new owner of OPUBCO.
“The only issue I have with Phil is his partial ownership of the Lakers — we will have to have some further conversations about that,” quipped McClendon, part-owner of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
While McClendon knows Anschutz personally, the 71-year-old marathon runner is much more of a mystery to most Oklahomans because of his reputation for not seeking publicity.
Anschutz's preference for personal privacy, however, stands in stark contrast with the nature of his worldwide business interests, many of which thrive by catering to huge crowds.
The Anschutz Corp. is the majority shareholder of Regal Entertainment Group, which operates the largest and most geographically diverse movie theater circuit in the country, consisting of 6,623 screens in 530 theaters in 37 states and the District of Columbia.
Through its subsidiary, Anschutz Entertainment Group, or AEG, Anschutz owns the Los Angeles Kings, a National Hockey League team, and has a minority interest in the Los Angeles Lakers.
He was co-founder of Major League Soccer and currently owns two MLS teams, the Los Angeles Galaxy and the Houston Dynamo.
Other sports assets include several European hockey teams, a Swedish soccer club and interests in professional lacrosse, tennis, boxing and cycling.
Through AEG, Anschutz is the largest owner and operator of sports and entertainment venues in the world.
His holdings include the Staples Center in Los Angeles; the world-class O2 Arena in London; Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.; and the Nokia Theatre Times Square in New York. He owns or operates other arenas and sports facilities in dozens of U.S. cities, as well as several foreign countries.
Anyone who has visited very many national parks likely has been a customer of his businesses. The Anschutz Corp. owns Xanterra Parks and Resorts, which operates concessionaire businesses that include lodging, food, retail and other facilities at the Mount Rushmore National Memorial and the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Rocky Mountain, Zion, Death Valley, Petrified Forest and Crater Lake national parks. It operates similar businesses at seven state parks and an Ohio marina.