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SBJ/Nov. 25-Dec. 1, 2013/Franchises
Molson Coors to sell its stake in Rockies
Published November 25, 2013, Page 1
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|Coors has been linked with the Rockies since before they began play in 1993.
The company said the sale does not affect its long-standing naming-rights deal for the team’s ballpark, Coors Field.
“Molson Coors is proud of the role we played in bringing a Major League Baseball team to Denver and remains highly supportive of the Colorado Rockies,” the company wrote in a statement emailed to SportsBusiness Journal. “However, we have decided to sell our 14.5% stake in the team so that we can focus our resources more fully on building our global beer business. This transaction has no impact on the naming rights for the stadium, which will remain Coors Field.”
The move comes as the Denver Post has taken its 7.3 percent share of the team off the market, in part because, sources said, it felt Coors is not getting full value for its stake. The sources would not say what Stein is paying for the Coors stake in the Rockies. One finance expert suggested it is tough to get full value for such a large limited-partnership piece.
Stein, in an email exchange, asked to wait until this week to talk, then declined further comment.
Stein is a president of Sandor Development in Scottsdale, Ariz., and was part of Jeff Moorad’s ownership group of the San Diego Padres. Moorad in 2009 agreed to buy the team over five years but last year sold the shares he had accumulated to the club’s current owners.
Sports finance sources pegged the Rockies’ full franchise value around $600 million. The Padres sold for $800 million, though the buyers used $200 million of the team’s cable TV money as part of the purchase price.
The Rockies have about $80 million of debt, a finance source said, so 14.5 percent of $520 million would be $75.4 million.
Colorado-based Coors played an integral role in investing in the Rockies expansion franchise and has been closely linked ever since. Coors merged with Molson in 2005. The new company, Molson Coors, then created a joint venture with SABMiller in 2007, called MillerCoors, and the corporate headquarters for the combined company moved to Chicago.
Coors signed the ballpark naming-rights deal in 1995 for $15 million with a reported term of “an indefinite period.”
The Rockies referred questions to the brewer.
The Denver Post is owned by Digital First Media, which announced just over a year ago it would try to sell its share of the team. The company hired Park Lane to broker a sale. A Digital First Media spokesman did not respond to several requests for comment. Park Lane declined to comment.
The team is principally owned by the Monfort brothers, Dick and Charlie, part of the original ownership group. In 2005 they bought out the majority partnership interest of team co-founder Jerry McMorris.
Staff writer Eric Fisher contributed to this report.