Habs Sale a Boost For Cablevision?

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The reported impending sale of the National Hockey League's Montreal Canadiens to the Molson brewing family for as much as $550 million could have an unintended beneficiary - Cablevision Systems.

Cablevision, which also owns the NHL's New York Rangers, earlier this year said it was investigating the split-off of its MSG unit - which includes the National Basketball Association New York Knicks, the WNBA New York Liberty, Madison Square Garden arena and other entertainment venues, and the MSG Media sports channels. According to a research report by Collins Stewart media analyst Tom Eagan, if the Canadiens sell for $500 million to $550 million - the deal still has to be approved by the league - it could significantly boost the valuation placed on the Rangers. In his report, Eagan wrote that the Habs sale, coupled with the anticipated sale of Major League Baseball's Chicago Cubs (said to fetch more than $850 million) could add another $3 per share in incremental value to MSG. Eagan added that his $350 million valuation for the Rangers, "now seems conservative based on this comparison."

Pali Research analyst Richard Greenfield wrote in a research note that he believed the Knicks and Rangers could now fetch about $1.5 billion alone, well above his previous valuation of $1 billion for all of MSG.

- Mike Farrell

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