SBD/19/Franchises

BOSS TO SELL YANKS? NEWSDAY SAYS CABLEVISION DEAL POSSIBLE

          In a deal "that would stun the baseball world and give
     Cablevision an unmatched sporting empire" in N.Y., the
     company "has entered into discussions with George
     Steinbrenner about the possibility of buying the Yankees,"
     according to Heyman & Zipay of NEWSDAY.  Cablevision Chair
     Charles Dolan confirmed yesterday that he has met with
     Steinbrenner on several occasions over the past few months
     and discussed "all kinds of possibilities" and scenarios
     regarding a potential sale.  Another source said that the
     sides have been talking about a sale for six months.  While
     neither Dolan nor Steinbrenner would discuss a price range,
     two sources familiar with the discussions said that the
     potential deal would bring Steinbrenner and his partners
     "well in excess" of $500M, "perhaps close to double the Fox
     purchase price" for the Dodgers.  Dolan said that
     Cablevision, owner of the Knicks and NHL Rangers, is
     "absolutely" interested in buying the Yankees, but "there
     has been no real progress with any of the different ideas
     that have surfaced" (Heyman & Zipay, NEWSDAY, 3/19).
          GEORGE ON THE RECORD: Steinbrenner yesterday did not
     "completely rule out" the possibility of selling the
     Yankees: "We've talked about a continuing relationship with
     them.  Their TV contract with us [on MSG] is up in two
     years, and there are all sorts of rumors flying around
     because of that.  There is nothing definitive.  Naturally,
     if there is an interest in maintaining our relationship it
     stands to reason they'll have interest in extending the
     contract or owning the team."  If the sale were to happen,
     sources say that the sides are discussing the possibility of
     Steinbrenner being paid "an annual management fee of at
     least" $5M to help run the club for five years after the
     sale.  However, sources said that "there are still very real
     obstacles" to a sale, such as Steinbrenner's tax bill if he
     were to sell at $500M-plus profit.  The situation "is
     further complicated" by the partners' decision to borrow
     against future earnings stemming from Steinbrenner's $486M
     MSG TV deal.  Meanwhile, Steinbrenner also said that he has
     heard "from his league sources" about interest in the team
     from Westinghouse, CBS's parent company (NEWSDAY, 3/19).

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