Baseball: The Atlanta Braves Become America’s Only Publicly Traded Team

As the 2021 MLB champions, the Braves will thus become the only club to be directly listed in the major leagues of American sports. (Photo: 123RF)

NEW YORK – Liberty Media Group announced Thursday a reorganization of its activities that will lead to the IPO of the Braves baseball club.atlantawhich would become the only listed major American sports team.

The conglomerate, controlled by tycoon Jon Malone, acquired the franchise of the North American Baseball Championship (MLB) owned by Time Warner Group in 2007.

He had already dumped the Liberty Braves shares associated with the team in 2016.

But these were so-called ‘tracing’ or ‘reflective’ titles, which merely reflected the company’s performance, but did not actually equate to a share in the club.

As part of the overhaul announced Thursday in a press release, Liberty Media will this time separate the Atlanta Braves and real estate assets from the rest of the conglomerate, which will now be consolidated into a new company, Atlanta Braves Holdings.

Liberty Media would then exchange the so-called “mirror” shares for new Atlanta Braves Holdings securities. These would be classic actions, guaranteeing their holders a stake in the team.

Thus the 2021 MLB champions, the Braves will become the only club in American sports to be directly listed in the major major leagues.

Some clubs, such as the Knicks (NBA), New York Rangers (NHL) or Toronto Blue Jays (MLB), belong to listed companies, but they represent only an asset of their parent company.

The American Football League NFL has a diversified shareholding in the Green Bay Packers franchise, which is open to retail investors but is not listed.

In the past, the Boston Celtics (NBA), Panthers (NHL) and Indians (MLB) were all publicly traded before investors delisted them.

In the world of professional sport in general, listed clubs remain the exception, with only a few examples in football in Europe such as Manchester United, AS Roma or Borussia Dortmund.

“Essentially, nothing will change in the way the Atlanta Braves (…) operate on a daily basis,” Terry McGuirk, CEO of Braves Holdings, the club’s current control structure, said in a statement.

He also specified that Liberty Media would remain involved in the company’s strategy “as a holding company”, indicating that John Malone’s group intends to remain the reference shareholder.

Asked by AFP to know the amount of its stake in the newly listed entity, Liberty Media did not respond.

The split comes as the value of American professional sports franchises has skyrocketed in recent years. According to Forbes magazine, the Atlanta Braves have nearly tripled in ten years and are now worth US$2.1 billion.

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