Nugget: O. Mason Hawkins on Madison Square Garden

From the 2011Q4 letter to shareholders of the Southeastern Asset Management´s Longleaf Funds:

Madison Square Garden: Based in New York, Madison Square Garden (MSG) owns one of the most valuable regional sports networks at a time when live sports content is increasingly important to traditional distributors. In addition, the company owns two of the best franchises in the NBA and NHL (Knicks and Rangers) and the iconic Madison Square Garden arena in which these teams play. The Dolan family controls the company, owns 20%, and has done a tremendous job building network value. The market is punishing the stock because the teams are generating no profits currently, and MSG’s billion dollar arena renovation that will draw higher team revenues is depressing this year’s earnings. The media network generates a valuable cash coupon, and comparable transactions imply a breakup value of the teams and arena over twice the stock’s price.  Additionally, programming contracts with huge revenues are being signed, causing the values of big-market NBA teams to explode. Because of the current renovation, 2012 FCF will be negative. Adjusted for the arena renovation, the FCF yield is 7.0%.

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