Shares of Madison Square Garden (MSG) - Get Report were steady Tuesday after the operator of the iconic Manhattan sports venue officially filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to spin off its entertainment business.
The company said it expected the transaction to take place in first-quarter 2020. Following the separation, MSG holders would maintain their equity stakes in both the sports and entertainment businesses.
The plan would separate the National Basketball Association's New York Knicks and National Hockey League's New York Rangers franchises, as well as the Kicks Gaming official NBA 2K esports franchise and the company's professional sports-team training center in Greenburgh, N.Y., from the division that owns the world-famous arena where they play, Madison Square Garden.
"The spinoff would create two distinct companies for MSG shareholders, each with a defined business focus and clear investment characteristics," CEO James Dolan said in a statement a month ago.
MSG's entertainment business includes an outdoor music festival company, a hospitality group, a live entertainment production outfit and concert and entertainment venues.
The company also said it chose to spin off its entire sports asset -- as opposed to its previous plan to retain a third of the equity in the separate business -- because it decided to push back the opening of its MSG Sphere in London.
Despite the move to separate the businesses, Knicks fans should not expect Dolan to sell the team in the foreseeable future, according to SI's John WallStreet.
"The Knicks are his ticket to everything; he gets covered in the papers because he owns the Knicks," JWS told TheStreet. "I don't think he ever gives up majority control of the franchise."
The Dolan family will maintain majority voting control of both companies through their ownership of Class B shares, according to Tuesday's filing.