SBD/9/Sports Media

LABATT BLUE ON $13M BASEBALL LOSS; POSSIBLE TSN MOVE?

     John Labatt, Ltd. announced yesterday that it took a $13M
loss on its second quarter earnings because of the baseball
strike.  Labatt is looking to "spin off" up to 49% of its sports
and entertainment assets.  Labatt President George Taylor said in
a conference call that the company is exploring "several -- both
Canadian and international -- possibilities for making a deal
with a partner."  There was discussion earlier of a public
offering, but Taylor said a "relationship with a strategic
partner is a stronger possibility" (Bertrand Marotte, OTTAWA
CITIZEN, 12/9).  Labatt owns The Sports Network, Canada's
national cable channel, 80% of the Discovery Channel, 90% of the
Blue Jays, and 41% of the SkyDome.  The "lure" for prospective
buyers are the TV licenses the company has, and Taylor admitted
the TV properties have "attracted outside interest."  Taylor
announced that, surprisingly, the NHL lockout and baseball strike
have not hurt earnings at TSN and they were "extremely successful
in minimizing losses in advertising commitments" (Art
Chamberlain, TORONTO STAR, 12/9).
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