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ARMAGEDDON: THE BOSS IN CHARGE OF YANKS, KNICKS AND RANGERS
Published September 17, 1998
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).