Liberty Media may swap Time Warner shares for assets: Report – Mar. 9, 2006
Supposedly, they would swap their four percent stake in TW for assets, including the Braves and TW’s 50 percent stake in Court TV.
I had to look Liberty up. They are a cable concern which owns QVC, Discovery, and the low-rent movie channels Encore and “Starz”. They also own 17 percent of NewsCorp.
Liberty in Malone’s outfit. Very aggressive, definitely financially focused. No idea why they would want the Braves except unless they thought they could make a shed load of cash ….
They own a lot of internet properties too IIRC. One of the big new media companies. I don’t know why they’d want the Braves either.
where have all the billionaires gone?
I hate to try to start my own topic, but my friends and i are having an email chain debate on the following, and I would like some of you more intelligent baseball fans to give me good opinions I cant then present as my own.
Better (if not best) Player 1990-1999. Bonds vs. Griffey Jr.
I’d say Bonds.
Didn’t Malone once own a part of the Colorado Rockies? I know he is based out of Denver. I remember pictures of him and Ted Turner during the Division Series in 1995. Malone then owned the biggest cable company and Turner was one of his biggest programming providers. Does anybody know what percentage Malone still owns of Liberty Media?
Until about a month ago, Liberty owned the Montgomery NBC affiliate.
I’d say Bonds, but it’s close – Bonds was pretty clearly the better hitter, but Griffey played a more important defensive position very well. Bonds did win GGs but I always thought he was a pretty crummy outfielder.
If you believe Bonds was juicing in ’99, maybe you discount those numbers (or throw them out altogether?). I dunno. Two great great players, HOFers for sure.
Have any of yall read the new prospectus book ‘baseball between the numbers’? i was thinking about giving it to my dad for his birthday (he has read ‘moneyball’ but is otherwise not a very saber-inclined dude).
I always thought Griffey was slightly overrated because of his extreme popularity in video game franchises where his character got perfect stats in everything.
Bonds vs. Griffey Jr. 90-99 is a tough call. I think at the time Griffey was a more feared hitter, until Bonds started juicing. If you include defense, then you have to go with Griffey. I also wonder where he would rank on the HR charts had he stayed healthy his whole career?
The Kid. I’ve seen more of him over his career, and would much rather have him in the lineup patrolling center field, than have Bonds playing left. Until his career was sidetracked by injuries, I thought he’d be the player challenging Aaron’s numbers, not Bonds. He’s also played the game with an enthusiasm and joy that Bonds has never had.
These guys would probably be an even worse owner than Time Warner, from a fan’s perspective.
My guess is that we DO NOT want Liberty Media owning the team. I can’t imagine they would want the Braves, but my sense of the company–in part from knowledge of Malone’s role in the cable industry of which I have some personal knowledge–is that it would milk the Braves and leave them a shell. If you think Time Warner is bad, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
I haven’t posted on this or any other subject in a while, but I’ve been saying this to anybody who will listen for much longer: It will not be good news for anybody who loves the Braves when TW finally sells them. I’m sorry, but the dream of a new super-owner coming in and magically rejuvenating the franchise with a bottomless bank account is really nothing more than that. The next owner will most likely be a group like Liberty Media, then we’ll really see some changes.
Somehow we’ve managed to avoid the inevitable firesale that most teams experience after a period of brief success. You can cry about the big names that leave the organization, but we’re still managing to retain and sign the likes of Smoltz and Hudson and maintain the one of the most solid rotations in the majors. Most of the pieces have been there. Tom Glavine blows two games of a five game series and it’s TW’s fault? Jaret Wright can’t get it done, Hudson gets too excited, Smoltz’s arm gets sore, Gary Sheffield’s bat turns to lead in October and that’s all TW’s fault? But they refuse to sign a big name closer you say? Closers seemlingly materialize out of nowhere every October and unless their name is Mariano they fade away just as quickly. So what is TW doing really, really wrong? Oh yeah they’re not winning the World Series year after year. But then again neither is Steinbrenner. So what is it then? TW is not the ideal owner for this franchise, I’ll give you that. But how many ideal owners are there in baseball any more? Let’s see, Steinbrenner and uh…uh…
So what I really want to know is who besides me cringes at the thought of what might become of our Braves once (AOL) Time Warner is out of the picture?
Some background on Liberty Media. John Malone and his cable company TCI kept Turner in business back when Ted overpaid for MGM. Malone’s stake in Turner became a stake in Time Warner after that merger. Meanwhile Malone had shed his local cable operations (TCI) and kept only the programming piece (Liberty). He characteristically issues and retracts tracking stocks. He is a brilliant financial guy and an engineer, and a libertarian. (Get it? — Liberty!) His deals often involve legally avoiding taxes.
Liberty now owns mostly passive chunks of T-W and NewsCorp, so investors, analysts, and Malone’s managers must feel a certain frustration with the company’s lack of control over its own destiny. Hence the desire to convert T-W stock into manageable assets, especially if there are tax advantages to such a deal. Ball club ownership would be justified as a fit because it’s an investment in a media content provider.
Liberty has long owned pieces of the cable networks Malone helped create — Starz/Encore, Discovery Networks, and QVC — all conservatively managed low risk businesses. Another holding and Malone creation, BET, was held for years as one of cable’s “second division teams”, then sold for a fortune to Viacom. Riskier Liberty investments in small tech companies didn’t pan out so well.
Conclusions. If past pattern is a guideline, Liberty wouldn’t buy overpriced free agents for its ball club. HBO (a Time Warner Company) is the pay network with expensive original series; Starz is strictly movie reruns. These guys rarely throw money around for sport, even when the risk could pay off. And forget the romance of baseball — for years Malone could have taken over a Hollywood studio but he had an engineer’s dispassion for such fluff. He’d rather drive across the country in an RV.
But these people are not dumb, and they wouldn’t be foolish enough to fire the successful management team which has kept the Braves winning while cutting costs. In fact, Liberty might give John Schuerholz the canvas he needs beyond baseball to try out his management theories on a broader scale. Liberty could use someone like him to enliven their somewhat moribund holdings.