AEG Struggling For Arena Cash?

With only days to go before AEG has to convince the local council it has the funding to build a new arena in Copenhagen, Denmark, the U.S. company is doing little to quell rumours that it’s struggling to raise the cash.

“We will be in a position to comment following the June 15 discussion with the city,” AEG European vice president of facilities Brian Kabatznick’s told Pollstar.

Having won the contract to build and run the new arena on the edge of the city at Ørestad, AEG has until June 15 to show the Københavns Kommune (Copenhagen council) it has the estimated $225 million it will take to complete the project.

Lise Westphal of PrimeTime Kommunikation, which handles AEG’s PR in Denmark, said it will be the company’s policy to raise as much local money as possible. She said AEG is still in the process of raising it.

That’s what’s causing doubts among key figures in the local live music business. Kabatznick’s refusal to talk about the situation until after the Københavns Kommune deadline isn’t likely to dispel those doubts.

He’s also declined to comment on local rumours saying AEG has raised a substantial amount but is still $100 million shy of its target.

“If there’s a bank or investment company that has that sort of money in this financial climate, then every businessman in Copenhagen would be beating a path to their door,” said Flemming Schmidt from Live Nation Denmark, echoing the widely held belief that even AEG – one of the world’s most successful arena developers – will struggle to raise the cash in the Danish capital.

Others who have tried to start arena builds in the city are also doubting such an amount can be raised, although they’re reluctant to say so publicly. But Brian Mollerup, chairman of the local FC Amager soccer club and one of those who failed in a bid to land the Ørestad project, said he doesn’t believe the American entertainment giant will have a problem.

Although Mollerup lost out to AEG in the tendering process, he said he already had the funding in place before he made his pitch. He said the financial partners in his Copenhagen Multiarena company would have included FCA Invest – which also put money behind his soccer team – Gemelli Invest and two others, at least one of which is an international company.

His plans for the new venue, which could be configured to hold between 5,000 and 50,000, included entertainment and soccer.