Oracle's Ellison eyes swoop for 02 arena owner AEG

US billionaire is targeting £6bn deal in company which has the former Dome

One of America's most notorious and controversial billionaires is in the running to purchase the company behind London's O2 arena in a possible £6bn deal.

Larry Ellison, the founder and chief executive of the United States software giant Oracle, is one of the bidders for Anschutz Entertainment Group, which owns the concert hall as well as 100 other entertainment and sports venues across the globe.

AEG was put up for sale last month by owner Philip Anschutz, who bought what was then known as the Millennium Dome in 2002 from the British Government.

A prominent American Christian conservative, he gained particular attention in the UK in 2006 when it emerged he had entertained the then Deputy prime minister, John Prescott, at his ranch just as he was bidding to win super-casino licences.

Mr Prescott insisted there was no conflict of interest.

Mr Anschutz folded the Dome into AEG, which also has stakes in the Los Angeles Lakers NBA franchise and the LA Kings pro hockey team.

Bankers at Blackstone are handling the sale, with bids expected from a range of private-equity firms and sovereign wealth funds.

Mr Ellison is thought to be more interested in the sports arms than the O2, soon to host concerts by Jennifer Lopez and Lionel Richie.

Sometimes derided as the other software billionaire – he is said to dislike Bill Gates – he is known for his love of trophy assets, gigantic boats and daredevil adventures.

Mr Ellison's net worth is put at $41bn (£26bn) by Forbes, largely down to his 22 per cent stake in Oracle, which provides business software. That compares with the comparatively meagre $8bn fortune amassed by Mr Anschutz. Weeks ago, Mr Ellison bought the Hawaiian island of Lanai for a rumoured $500m, and has been open about his desire to acquire other trophy assets.

Last month it emerged that Mr Ellison had pledged 139 million Oracle shares, valued at $4.3bn, as "collateral to secure personal indebtedness".

He told CNBC that he secured the credit "just in case I go shopping and something catches my eye".

Analysts say Mr Ellison could easily afford the purchase, but note that he could face stiff opposition. Patrick Soon-Shiong, a biotech entrepreneur who is Los Angeles' richest man with an estimated $7.3bn, has declared his interest publicly in AEG.

Mr Ellison has spent more than $100m to win the prestigious America's Cup sailing race. He collects planes and cars, and owned a 454ft mega-yacht before selling it for $300m to David Geffen.

Mr Anschutz is said to be keen to shove the price as high as possible rather than secure a quick deal.

When tycoon went in hard on PeopleSoft

Mr Ellison is known for self-confidence rather than diplomacy.

When he launched a bid for rival PeopleSoft in 2004, staff at that company decided that Oracle stood for One Raging Asshole Called Larry Ellison.

Mr Ellison was open about his desire to buy the company so he could shut it down. The takeover battle led to Oracle acquiring the business in the biggest software merger in history. He paid 65 per cent more than he intended and relented on ditching PeopleSoft.

Life & Style
Sampling wine in Turin
food + drink...and abstaining may be worse than drinking too much, says scientist
Arts & Entertainment
Kingdom Tower
architecture
Sport
Jose Mourinho restrains his assistant manager Rui Faria, Fabio Borini celebrates his winning penalty and Connor Wickham equalises for Sunderland
sportChelsea 1 Sunderland 2: Deafeat is extra bitter as former Chelsea player Fabio Borini scores late penalty to seal victory
Arts & Entertainment
Game of Thrones writer George R.R. Martin has been working on the novels since the mid-Nineties
books
VIDEO
News
Easter a dangerous time for dogs
these are the new ones. Old ones are below them... news
News
Brand said he
people
Sport
Roger Federer celebrates his victory over Novak Djokovic in the Monte Carlo Masters
sport
Voices
Actor Zac Efron
voicesTopless men? It's as bad as Page 3, says Howard Jacobson
Arts & Entertainment
The monster rears its head as it roars into the sky
film
Voices
For the Love of God (2007) The diamond-encrusted skull that divided the art world failed to sell for
its $100m asking price. It was eventually bought by a consortium
which included the artist himself.
voicesYou can shove it, Mr Webb – I'll be having fun until the day I die, says Janet Street-Porter
Extras
indybestFake it with 10 best self-tanners
Arts & Entertainment
Madonna in her music video for 'Like A Virgin'
music... and other misheard song lyrics
News
Much of the colleges’ land is off-limits to locals in Cambridge, with tight security
educationAnd has the Cambridge I knew turned its back on me?
News
peopleOrlando Bloom the pin-up hero is making a fresh start
News
Who makes you happy?
happy listSend your nominations now for the Independent on Sunday Happy List
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

1st Line Helpdesk Engineer Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...

Telesales & Sales Support Apprentice

£221.25 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a well established Inter...

Client Relationship Manager - SQL, Python

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Client Relationship Manager - SQL...

**Financial Services Tax**

£35000 - £50000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: Take your chance to join the...

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit