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Volume 24 No. 156

Franchises

     The Celtics may be exploring a buy-back of publicly held
units in the Boston Celtics Limited Partnership in a bid to take
the company private again, according to Joan Vennochi in this
morning's BOSTON GLOBE.  The "goal would be to make even more
millions for the team owners as well as protect them from the
scrutiny that goes along with public filings."  As reported in a
FINANCIAL WORLD piece, the reason to suspect such a move is the
possibility that the Celtics could lose their master limited
parntership (MLP) tax advantage at the end of '97 due to changes
in the law.  At that point, the general partners would have to
pay taxes on earnings at the corporate rate of 35%.  However,
there is a proposal before Congress to preserve the MLPs' favored
tax status, which probably would cause the stock to go up.
Vennochi:  "In other words, there is now an ideal window of
opporutnity to buy the stock as cheaply as possible and then lock
in more of the Celtics profits, which wouldn't have to be
distributed to shareholders."  Celtics CFO Joseph DiLorenzo said
the team "really hasn't talked about" a buyback, but added that,
generally, "it makes "100% sense to do it when the stock is
undervalued" (BOSTON GLOBE, 5/10).

     ITT Corp. reportedly plans to make a decision in the "very
near future" about a previously announced plan to consider
breaking up into three separate companies.  Analysts believe that
the long-awaited split of ITT's hotel/entertainment,
manufacturing and insurance segments would "boost" the company's
overall value.  Since "growing speculation about the breakup and
in response to the company's strong earnings" in mid-December,
ITT's shares have "shot up" more than 30%.  Analysts and
investment bankers speculate that the announcement could come as
soon as the company's board meeting on June 13.  ITT's recent
purchase, through a partnership with Cablevision, of Madison
Square Garden, the Knicks, the Rangers and MSG Network would be
included in the hotel & entertainment segment.  ITT CFO Robert
Bowman is expected run the entertainment company on a day-to-day
basis (Eben Shapiro, WALL STREET JOURNAL, 5/10.

     The Nordiques have until Thursday to examine a proposal by
the Province of Quebec intended to keep the team in Canada.
Nordiques Co-Owner Marcel Aubut was given the proposal yesterday,
according to Premier Jacques Parizeau. Parizeau said both sides
agreed to keep the details of the deal a secret:  "During these
48 hours, we will discuss it and try to get it moving" (TORONTO
STAR, 5/10).  The offer was expected to include a demand that the
Province have part ownership of the team, in exchange for the
team dropping its demands that a casino or lottery help finance
the team (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 5/10).  The team reportedly has a
US $75M offer from Comsat Video to relocate to Denver.
     RAPTORS COOL TO IHL:  The Raptors' interest in buying an IHL
team "may have cooled," according to Craig Daniels in this
morning's TORONTO SUN.  IHL VP Communications Tim Bryant:
"They've backed off on their interest at this time, is what they
told us."  Raptors President John Bitove said the team's interest
in the IHL was "preliminary at best" and that they are focused on
their efforts to get the Air Canada Centre through the zoning
process (TORONTO SUN, 5/10).

     Jets Owner Barry Shenkarow told the WINNIPEG FREE PRESS that
a sale of his team to MN-based investors would be announced
today.  The sale price was expected to be in the $65M range.  In
Minneapolis, health care entrepreneur Richard Burke said an
announcement of the sale was "reasonably imminent."  Dana Warg,
Manager of the Target Center:  "The offer was made on Saturday.
I don't know exactly when the deal will be announced, but I know
it's close."  One "hurdle" was cleared yesterday when the
Minnesota Sports Facilities Commission recommended to the MN
State Legislature that is pass a funding package to help buy the
franchise.  That is expected to be worth $10-$20M and could be
passed by the end of the week.  Burke:  "It's down to haggling
now" (Scott Taylor, WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 5/10).  CFL and IHL
franchise Owner Horn Chen reportedly submitted a bid to purchase
the team and move them to Hamilton.  Chen and his group of
investors reportedly offered $65M to Shenkarow with another $25M
"targeted" for the Maple Leafs for territorial rights (Gary
Picknell, TORONTO SUN, 5/10).