Liberty Media Is Splitting Off Atlanta Braves Into New Public Company
John Malone’s Liberty Media is splitting off 2021 World Series champions the Atlanta Braves Baseball Club and related assets into a separate public company “to better highlight its strong value.”
As part of a rejiggering of the Liberty universe, it is also creating a new tracking stock called Liberty Live to house its stake in Live Nation.
Liberty Live would join reconfigured Liberty Sirius XM and Liberty Formula One tracking stocks. These are specialized equities that highlight a specific division or segment of a business but where outside investors have little or no control. They became big in the 1990s and have been a hallmark of Malone, a former telco and cable titan and highly regarded investor and financial engineer. Liberty’s holdings over the years have touched much of media, including a big stake in Warner Bros. Discovery.
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The Braves’ assets are also currently held in a tracking stock, which would go away.
Liberty CEO Greg Maffei said the operations “will provide greater investor choice and enable targeted investment and capital-raising through more focused currencies, while maintaining an optimal capital structure for Liberty Media.” It will also preserve “optionality” with respect to subsidiary SiriusXM, and Liberty’s stake in Live Nation.
The split calls for the redemption of Liberty Media’s existing Liberty Braves common stock in exchange for common stock of a newly formed company to be called Atlanta Braves Holdings. That would house all the businesses, assets and liabilities currently attributed to the Braves Group, including Braves Holdings, owner-operator of the Atlanta Braves Major League Baseball Club, some assets and liabilities of the Atlanta Braves’ stadium and mixed-use development project, The Battery Atlanta, and corporate cash.
Terms: In connection with the split, Liberty Media would redeem each outstanding share of its Series A, Series B and Series C Liberty Braves common stock for one share of the corresponding series of common stock of Atlanta Braves Holdings, so Liberty Media and Atlanta Braves Holdings would be separate publicly traded companies.
The “intergroup interests” in the Braves Group held by Liberty Media’s existing Liberty SiriusXM Group and Formula One Group would be “settled and extinguished” in the split but how hasn’t yet been determined.
Liberty Media would then create a new tracking stock group, the Liberty Live Group.
Liberty Media expects its reclassified Liberty SiriusXM common stock, new Liberty Formula One common stock and new Liberty Live common stock to trade on the Nasdaq or OTC Markets. The stock symbols for the first two won’t change. Liberty Live’s A, B and C common stock will trade under LLYVA, LLYVB and LLYVK, respectively.
Liberty Media stockholders must the transactions, which is also subject to tax counsel, a signoff by Major League Baseball and a ruling by the IRS.
The split-off of the Braves can go forward even without the eventual reclassification of the tracking stocks.
Both operations, expected to be completed in the first half of next year, are intended to be tax free to stockholders.
The company made the announcement ahead of an investor meeting in New York today.
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