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Braves sale approved
2007-05-17 07:45
by Bob Timmermann

Yesterday, MLB owners approved the stock transfer required to put the Atlanta Braves in the hands of Liberty Media Corp. The Braves are no longer part of the Time Warner empire.

Commissioner Bud Selig says the new ownership group is supposed to provide a bigger role for Henry Aaron, although it has not been specified what that is.

For corporate finance wonks, the details from the AP:

Time Warner and Liberty agreed to the sale in February. Liberty said Thursday it exchanged approximately 68.5 million shares of Time Warner common stock, subject to a working capital adjustment, for the Braves, Time Inc.'s Leisure Arts Inc. and $960 million. Liberty retained about 103 million shares (2.8 percent) of Time Warner common stock.

Starting Thursday, the Braves became a self-governed subsidiary of Liberty Media, with McGuirk reporting to the team's board in his capacity as chairman and president. John Schuerholz remains as general manager and Bobby Cox as manager.


2007-05-17 08:21:37
1.   Sushirabbit
Globalization, mate. Wonder how long it is till we see the Golden Arches on Baseball uniforms? I must admit it's disconcerting to see our staid logo on the Manchester United Kits.
2007-05-17 09:21:36
2.   Westernmost in Flavor
This could end up as bad for the Braves as the Fox ownership was for the Dodgers. Remember, News Corp. bought the Dodgers to prevent ESPN from setting up regional sports networks. This is entirely a business deal, with the emphasis on putting together a good product on the field at near zero.

In order to get the deal approved by MLB, Liberty had to commit to maintaining the same payroll (with no escalation due to inflation from what I gather).

I'm slightly confused as to why Liberty is committing to owning the team for at least 4.5 years.

Because professional sports teams can write-off 100% of the purchase price of a franchise using straight-line depreciation over 15 years, it would make sense to me that they should hold the asset long enough to write-off the entire $461 million value.

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