The move is expected to increase the value of the Braves. As of Thursday morning, following the announcement, Liberty Media stock was up about 10% to nearly $34 a share.
Maffei has talked about the real possibility of a split-off as far back as 2016, but said several times in the following years that it wasn’t on the horizon. Thursday’s move toward a split-off could facilitate the possible eventual sale of the Braves by eliminating some complicated tax issues.
“First of all, just starting with the structure we have, while (the team) sits in a (tracking stock), really it would be very unattractive from a tax perspective (to sell),” Maffei said at last year’s Liberty Media Investor Day. “Unlikely to do that. Could we, somewhere down the road, do different things to create optionality around that asset? Surely.”
Earlier this month, Liberty Media investor Breach Inlet Capital sent a letter, a second and public notice, in which it outlined the reasons Liberty Braves stock is undervalued and should be spun off to maximize shareholder value.
Braves President and CEO Derek Schiller spoke in person at the Investor Day.
“From our perspective, from the Braves perspective, it’s business as usual,” Schiller said of the transaction. “Our goal every year is going to be try to win a World Series, operate the best sports and entertainment business possible. I think we have shown that, and I think we are going to continue to show that.”