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MSG Considers Split

NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess) — Madison Square Garden Co. (MSG) has reportedly been weighing a plan to split into two publicly traded companies, one to house its sports and media operations, including the NBA team New York Knicks, and a second to contain the company's real estate and entertainment units, with an eye to enhancing shareholder value.

According to Bloomberg, the move would also see Nelson Peltz, the co-founder of Trian Fund Management LP, and Scott Sperling, co-president of private-equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners LP, nominated to the company's board of directors and MSG would move to repurchase as much as $500 million in its own stock.

Currently, the company is comprised of three divisions. MSG Sports includes the Knicks, as well as the National Hockey League’s New York Rangers, the Women's NBA team New York Liberty and the American Hockey League team The Hartford Wolfpack.

MSG Media includes regional television sports networks, including MSG Network, as well as MSG+, which broadcast hundreds of sports games a year, including basketball, hockey, tennis and college football, along with original programming content.

MSG Entertainment represents a collection of venues that include venues Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall, The Theater at Madison Square Garden, the Beacon Theatre, the Forum in Inglewood, California, The Chicago Theatre and the Wang Theatre in Boston and the division presents more than 1,000 live entertainment offerings a year.

The split appears to be driven in part by the purchase of the Los Angeles Clippers for $2 billion last summer, a price that was more than 4 times what had previously been paid for an NBA franchise.

The split would also potentially make MSG a more enticing target for acquisition by larger firms as media companies such as Comcast as seek to diversify their positions in the face of the shifting sands of the cable television business. The split also may pave the way for MSG to divest some of their real estate holdings, which might present a valuable acquisition target for private equity. – Staff Writers