Philip Anschutz.

Worth $15.3 billion, Philip Anschutz owns AEG, the parent company of Coachella.
In addition to entertainment, he built his fortune through commodities including oil and railroads.
In 2019, Forbes named Anschutz the richest person in the state of Colorado.

Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, the music event currently underway in Indio, California, is owned by Philip Anschutz, an 84-year-old billionaire businessman whom The New Yorker once called “the man who owns LA.” Despite living in Colorado, Anschutz is deeply embedded in California’s largest city. 

With a net worth of $15.3 billion, according to Forbes, he owns Coachella through his company, the Anschutz Corporation, and one of its subsidiaries, Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG).

AEG owns several athletic teams, operates more than 90 clubs and theaters around the world, and produces or supports more than 25 music festivals. Anschutz also owns the Los Angeles Kings hockey team and previously owned one-third of the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team, as well as both teams’ home arena: Arena, formerly known as the Staples Center.

Take a look at how the billionaire makes and spends his fortune.

Katie Warren contributed to an earlier version of this article.

Philip Anschutz, who was born in 1939 in rural Kansas, made his first large sum of money through an oil-field discovery.
Philip Anschutz in 1967.

Born in Russell, Kansas, Anschutz comes from a family of oil wildcatters. After earning a degree in business from the University of Kansas, he started the Anschutz Company, a private holding company, in 1965, Bloomberg reported.

By 1979, he had discovered a large oil field on the Wyoming-Utah border, which is now known as the Anschutz Ranch East oil field.

Just a few years later, in 1982, Mobil purchased half of his discovery for as much as $500 million, industry sources told The New York Times. That initial sum of money allowed Anschutz to begin making large investments in a variety of lucrative industries. 

He made investments in the railroad industry in the 1980s and ’90s.
Anschutz at the dedication of the Roseville Station.

Anschutz paid $90 million for the Rio Grande Railroad in 1984 and bought the Southern Pacific Railroad for $1.8 billion four years later, Bloomberg reported. In 1995, he sold both railroads to Union Pacific in a deal that gave him $1.4 billion and let him keep the right-of-way to lay fiber-optic cable. 

By the end of the 1990s, Anschutz’s fiber-optic cable lines ended up being central to Qwest Communications, which was bought by CenturyLink in 2010.

He then started investing in the entertainment business.
A Regal Cinema in Los Angeles.

He created Regal Entertainment Group in 2002 by merging three bankrupt theater chains, Forbes reported. Today, what is now known as Regal Cinemas is one of America’s largest movie-theater chains.

As of April 2022, Regal operates 6,787 screens in 505 theaters worldwide.

Although Anschutz sold some of his Regal shares in a 2002 public offering, he remained the majority shareholder. In 2018, Cineworld made a $3.6 billion deal to buy Regal Cinemas, Deadline reported.

In 1994, Anschutz founded AEG, which has owned major sports teams like the LA Lakers and the LA Kings.
Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James in action during a match against Brooklyn Nets.

He bought his shares of the LA Lakers in 1998 and sold his 27 percent stake in 2021, when the team was valued at $5 billion, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Other sports teams owned by AEG include the Los Angeles Galaxy soccer franchise, the Cincinnati Cyclones, the Ontario Reign, as well as German and Swedish hockey teams.

The company’s live entertainment division, AEG Presents, is one of the world’s largest presenters of live music and entertainment events. Arena in Los Angeles.

The Arena, formerly known as the Staples Center, has a capacity of 19,000 and hosts more than 250 events each year, including NBA All-Star Games, NHL All-Star Games, and the Grammys, as well as concerts by the likes of Bruce Springsteen, U2, Prince, Beyoncé, Paul McCartney, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Adele, Taylor Swift, and Britney Spears.

Other venues under AEG ownership include the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin, the O2 in London, and the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Beyond sports, Anschutz’s company owns the wildly popular Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.
Coachella 2019.

The popular two-weekend April music festival in Indio, California, is organized by Goldenvoice, which AEG bought in 2001.

Coachella is famous for its flashy outfits and Instagram-worthy attractions, in addition to its musical performances, which in recent years have featured artists including Beyoncé, Ariana Grande, Childish Gambino, Frank Ocean, Cardi B, Kendrick Lamar, and Radiohead.

In 2023, the festival was attended by an estimated 125,000 people each day, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune.

The Colorado billionaire also owns Windstar Cruises, a boutique cruise line with just six ships.
Windstar Cruise ship.

The small luxury cruise line has received various accolades, including awards from Conde Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure.

The entertainment mogul has also invested in the publishing business.
Philip Anschutz.

He founded the conservative magazine The Washington Examiner in 2005 and later bought another conservative publication, The Weekly Standard, which shut down at the end of 2018.

His assets also include at least two five-star resorts.
The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs.

Anschutz owns The Broadmoor, a luxury mountain resort in Colorado Springs.

“I started coming here when I was 5,” Anschutz told Forbes in 2016. “And when I was 10, I was sitting in the corner of the bar when I told my mother and father I was going to buy the Broadmoor.”

He did just that in 2011.

Anschutz also owns the Sea Island resort in Georgia, which he bought in 2016.

According to The Land Report, Anschutz is the 88th-largest landowner in the US.
Philip Anschutz.

He owns 184,500 acres, according to the 2024 Land Report.

In 2018, Anschutz was 27th on the list.

Anschutz keeps out of the public eye, and he has been referred to as “America’s most reclusive billionaire.”
Anschutz and his wife, Nancy Anschutz, in 2018.

In 2012, writer George Parker referred to Anschutz as “America’s most reclusive billionaire.” 

According to the Los Angeles Times, despite Anschutz’ many business dealings in the city, he does not even have a Los Angeles address.

“Philip Anschutz is sort of like the Wizard of Oz,” Los Angeles economist Jack Kyser told the Los Angeles Times in 2006. “He is the man behind the curtain pulling the levers. Nobody sees him, yet he has a huge impact on Los Angeles.”

Anschutz has only given two press conferences ever, according to Bloomberg.

Anschutz and his wife, Nancy, are longtime residents of Denver, Colorado.
Philip and Nancy Anschutz in 2015.

Little is known about his life there, but Bloomberg reports that his hobbies include hunting, tennis, squash, and jogging.

Anschutz and his wife have three children. One of their daughters, Libby Anschutz, is a musician in a Denver-based band, Tracksuit Wedding. Their other daughter, Sarah Anschutz Hunt, sits on the board of trustees of the Anschutz Family Foundation, according to the foundation’s official website.

Anschutz has donated millions of dollars to charities, Republican political candidates, and conservative causes.
Philip Anschutz.

Anschutz founded The Anschutz Foundation in 1984, which donates primarily to nonprofit organizations in Colorado.

The University of Colorado’s medical school, to which Anschutz donated $120 million in 2018, bears his name. Also among his large contributions is the $5 million he donated to build a new facility for the Denver Boys and Girls club in 2012, the Denver Business Journal reported.

Anschutz is also known for supporting Republican political causes. According to Open Secrets, in 2021 and 2022, he gave $109,500 to the National Republican Congressional Committee. He has also given money to individual Republican candidates such as Kevin McCarthy and Rick Santorum.

In 2017, Anschutz faced criticism over his reported donations to anti-LGBTQ organizations, including the Alliance Defending Freedom, the National Christian Foundation, and the Family Research Council, Billboard reported. Tax filings show his foundation donated to the Alliance Defending Freedom and the National Christian Foundation as recently as 2015.

In a rare public statement on the matter in 2017, Anschutz said, “Recent claims published in the media that I am anti-LGBTQ are nothing more than fake news — it is all garbage. I unequivocally support the rights of all people without regard to sexual orientation.”

AEG did not respond to a request for comment.

Now worth more than $15 billion, Anschutz is one of just two people who have made the Forbes 400 list of the richest Americans every year since the first version was published in 1982.
Philip Anschutz.

On the first Forbes 400 list in 1982, Anschutz, then 42 years old, was ranked the seventh-richest person in the US with an estimated net worth of over $1 billion.

Only he and William Herbert Hunt, whose wealth comes from the oil industry, have been on Forbes’ 400 list since its inception, Forbes confirmed to Business Insider in 2019.

In 2022, Anschutz was ranked No. 56 on the list. Today, his personal fortune is estimated at $15.3 billion.

Read the original article on Business Insider


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