MSG Shares Soar After It Unveils Plan To Split Entertainment And Sports Assets

Madison Square Garden Company shares leapt 19.2% in postmarket trading after it said that it will explore a plan to spin off its entertainment businesses from its media and sports ones and repurchase $500 million worth of its stock. The spinoff would create a company that controls and manages entertainment at venues including Madison Square Garden, New York’s Beacon Theater and Radio City Music Hall, the Forum in suburban Los Angeles, the Chicago Theater and Boston’s Wang Theater. The sports-focused company would have MSG’s sports franchises, including the New York Knicks and Rangers; regional sports services MSG Network and MSG +; and investments in SiTV Media, which owns NUVOtv and Fuse.

The companies would have “distinct value propositions for investors,” CEO Tad Smith says. The entertainment one could “capitalize on significant opportunities to grow rapidly within the changing entertainment landscape” or the sports one “would enjoy steady growth and high cash flow that we expect will result in capital returns to shareholders.”

MSG says it’s been considering the separation since July with advice from LionTree Advisors, but it has no timetable and makes no guarantee that the split will take place. MSG is controlled by the families of Charles and Jim Dolan which also control Cablevision and AMC Networks.

In other news Monday, MSG announced two new independent directors: Trian Fund Management CEO Nelson Peltz and Thomas H. Lee Partners Co-President Scott Sperling will represent owners of the publicly traded Class A shares. They will replace Alan Schwartz and Vincent Tese, who now will represent the Dolan family controlled Class B shares. Former Time Warner CEO Richard Parsons also was reappointed as a director to represent the Class A Investors..

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