SALE OF KNICKS/RANGERS COMPLETE; MSG'S FUTURE CLOUDY?
The $1B sale of Madison Square Garden, the Knicks and the
Rangers and MSG Network is complete. Seven months after reaching
an agreement with Viacom, the ITT Corp./Cablevision Systems
partnership "took possession." While no changes are expected
with the teams, "cable-junkies could be in for a rude awakening."
The N.Y. POST reports that ITT CFO Bob Bowman recently addressed
the fate of MSG Network: "I don't know why MSG considers that
they've got to have a live event on at 2:00am. ... I don't know
why MSG has to have live sports for 30 minutes at 11:00pm. I
don't know anybody who watches it." Bowman made the comments to
a group of Wall Street analysts last year. "However, there is no
mention that the network will be scrapped." ITT's partner,
Cablevision, runs SportsChannel New York. The transcript of
Bowman's remarks "also notes that many of MSG's other operations
might also go." Among them is MSG Enterprises, which books
concerts and events. Said one ITT insider: "I didn't even know
it was there until we bought it" (N.Y. POST, 3/11). The payment
to Viacom was about $66M less than agreed to when the plan was
announced in August 1994 because of closing adjustments (WALL
STREET JOURNAL, 3/13).