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Madison Square Garden to be spun off in Cablevision shake-up

Cablevision Systems Corporation, the family-controlled media, entertainment and sports company, is to spin-off its Madison Square Garden business by the end of 2009. The move is an attempt to unlock the value of the company and allow the separate businesses to develop individually.
The split will give shareholders the same number of shares in the new company (to be called Madison Square Garden) as they currently hold in Cablevision. The New York-based Dolan family will control both Cablevision and MSG through their Class B shares and will also head up the management of the new company. James Dolan (pictured), Cablevision president and CEO, will become chairman of MSG and non-family Hank Ratner will be president and CEO.
Dolan said: "We believe that the combined value of these assets has not been fully realised and that this transaction will be beneficial to shareholders as both Cablevision and MSG freely pursue their own individual business plans."
The company reiterated that it is not considering the sale of MSG or any other Cablevision assets at the present time. This statement is consistent with one released in May when it was first announced Cablevision was considering the spin off of assets. (To read our coverage of the story click here) 

James Dolan is son of the Cablevision founder Charles Dolan, who still serves as chairman. Despite having 2008 revenues of $7.2 billion, Cablevision is struggling under the weight of $1.7 billion in debts after a 2008 acquisition of Newsday Media Group. (To read our coverage of the story click here)

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