Cablevision Sets Feb. 9 As MSG Spin-Off Date

Cablevision Systems' board of directors set Feb. 9 as the date for the planned spin-off of its Madison Square Garden assets, the company said Tuesday.
Cablevision, which made the announcement late Tuesday, had first hinted of its plans to explore a spin-off of MSG in May and made it official in July, authorizing its board to go ahead with the transaction. Assets Included in the unit are the Madison Square Garden arena, its professional sports teams, Radio City Music Hall, the Beacon Theater and the Chicago Theater, its MSG regional sports networks and cable music channel Fuse.

According to Cablevision, on Feb. 9, shareholders of record as of Jan 25 will receive one share of MSG Class A common stock for every four shares of Cablevision Class A common stock they hold. MSG stock is expected to begin trading on a "when-issued" basis on the NASDAQ under the symbol "MSGNV" beginning on Jan. 25 and will begin trading regularly on Feb. 10, under the symbol "MSG."

The transaction was initially expected to be completed before 2009.

"We are now one step closer toward our goal of creating two distinct companies for investors, each leaders in their industry with their own defined business focus and clear investment characteristics," Cablevision CEO James Dolan said in a statement. "MSG joined the Cablevision family of companies nearly 15 years ago and today houses one of the world's most dynamic collection of sports, entertainment and programming properties. Meanwhile, Cablevision has developed a portfolio of industry-leading telecommunications services, strong programming and content offerings that have made it one of the nation's leading media and telecommunications companies. We are confident that Cablevision will be able to continue to build on its remarkable record of achievement and that MSG is well positioned for long-term success as a public company."
Dolan, who will remain CEO of Cablevision, will assume the role of executive chairman of MSG after the spin is complete. Cablevision vice chairman Hank Ratner will add the title of president and CEO of MSG after the spin.