clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Braves Sale Nearing Completion

New, 2 comments

Title of this post: Braves Sale Nearing Completion

Other title I could have used: Braves Sale Nearing Completion?

We finally get some minor inkling that the deal between Time Warner and Liberty Media may be nearing completion, this comes to us from the New York Times (hat tip: Rowland's Office):

Based on his vast experience with the sale of baseball teams, Steve Greenberg, a managing director at Allen & Company, said of the pending sale of the Atlanta Braves, "It's always optimal to close a baseball sale during the off-season."

Time Warner, the Braves' owner for the past 11 years, and Liberty Media, the prospective buyer, had hoped to follow Greenberg's advice. Trouble is, they were talking about last off-season. If it's any consolation to them, there's still a chance they can get the deal done before the end of this off-season.

Word among baseball officials in recent days is that the sale is moving closer to completion, maybe reaching that point in the next month or so.

Yes, we know, it's been dragging on for what seems like ever. For those of you who don't know what's at stake in this "swap" here are the particulars:

The Time Warner deal calls for Malone to return $1.8 billion in Time Warner stock, receiving in return the Braves, valued at $450 million, and the rest in cash.

It feels like the Braves are "the team to be named later;" the Crash Davis among the throngs of doubloons changing hands. One can almost see the topic of adding the Braves to this deal coming up over brandy one evening.

Time Warner Exec: Yes John, we'd love to have $1.8 billion dollars worth of our stock back.
John Malone: Keep in mind I want plenty of cash in return, but I also don't want that damned IRS to take any of it. It's my money, mine.
Time Warner Exec: Would you like one of our networks, perhaps you'd enjoy the Cartoon Network.
John Malone: No, they're all a bunch of damned terrorists.
Time Warner Exec: How about HBO? You like movies right?
John Malone: No, I'm more of a Skinemax kind of guy.
Time Warner Exec: Hummm.
John Malone: I like hot dogs...
Time Warner Exec: Hey! What would you say to a whole bunch of hot dog stands?
John Malone: Really! What are these stands called, where are they?
Time Warner Exec: They're called the Ted and they're in a stadium thingy we own in Atlanta.
John Malone: Oh really, Atlanta. Could I move it to somewhere nicer like Milwaukee?
Time Warner Exec: No actually, this stadium is where this team plays called the Braves. They're a baseball team, perhaps you've heard of them.
John Malone: Have they ever been on Skinemax after dark?
Time Warner Exec: I don't think so, but they're a baseball team, they play baseball...
John Malone: Is that like foosball?
Time Warner Exec: Um...yes.
John Malone: Sweet!
Time Warner Exec: Hell yeah it's sweet!
John Malone: Okay, so I get the cash, those hot dog stands, and this Braves thingy, and I'm not paying any taxes, right?
Time Warner Exec: Yep. But it's going to take a lot of lawyers to figure this one out.
John Malone: Well, how much am I saving on taxes with this?
Time Warner Exec: Probably something like $200 million.
John Malone: Well, there you go; spend that on lawyers.
Time Warner Exec: That's a lot to spend on lawyers.
John Malone: Hey, if they can make it so I don't have to pay any taxes then they're worth-it.
Time Warner Exec: Right, but...
John Malone: Shh, they're worth it.