SBD/17/Franchises

ARMAGEDDON: THE BOSS IN CHARGE OF YANKS, KNICKS AND RANGERS

          Cablevision's "new proposal" to buy the Yankees would
     give Yankees Owner George Steinbrenner "a hand in running"
     the Yankees, Knicks and NHL Rangers, "should he sell his
     ball club," according to associates of Steinbrenner as cited
     by Charles Bagli of the N.Y. TIMES.  Cablevision, which
     "revived the negotiations about three weeks ago," would buy
     the team for a combination of stock and cash, while keeping
     Steinbrenner as general partner of the Yankees "with
     responsibility for running all of the company's sports
     teams."  A source said Cablevision "could spin off the
     sports operations as a separate, public company" (N.Y.
     TIMES, 9/17).  Cablevision released a statement last night
     saying it had no discussions to "relinquish either the
     control or management responsibilities" of MSG and its
     teams, nor do they "expect to have any discussions in the
     future" (N.Y. POST, 9/17).  One industry exec said
     Cablevision Chair Charles Dolan offered "way over" $500M for
     the Yankees.  Steinbrenner: "Don't drag up old news.  That's
     old news.  I'm not going to do anything."  Friends of
     Steinbrenner said that they've noticed "signs that he is
     considering selling the team, but declined to get too
     specific" (NEWSDAY, 9/17).  The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER's Jill
     Goldsmith: "Wall Street wondered if the highly leveraged
     company should swallow another big acquisition." 
     Cablevision's debt to cash flow ratio is "about" 6.5, with
     the industry average being about 5.2.  PaineWebber cable
     analyst Tom Eagan: "They probably have the highest debt (to
     cash flow) level of their group" (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 9/17). 
     Sportscorp President Mark Ganis, on Cablevision's leverage
     if it were to acquire the Yankees: "They could offer long-
     term sponsorship deals with the three most visible teams in
     their respective sports" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/17).

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