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Braves likely to be spun off as separate company in mid-July

The move was announced back in November 2022, and will likely occur some time in the next couple of weeks

John Malone, chairman of Liberty Media Corp., arrives for a
This is what John Malone looked like in 2009
Photo by Matthew Staver/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Back in November 2022, the ultimate corporate parent of the Atlanta Braves, Liberty Media, announced plans to essentially spin the franchise and its related holdings (including The Battery) into an independent company. Last Friday, Liberty Media followed up with a press release announcing that it will seek to effectuate the spin (i.e., separation) on July 18-19, 2023, which is about two weeks away.

Right now, the Braves exist as a wholly-owned but effectively independent holding of Liberty Media. Years earlier, rather than directly spinning off the Braves, Liberty Media instead created a tracking stock for the franchise; a tracking stock is a now-rarely-used mechanism that still fluctuates based on the perceived economic performance of an entity, but doesn’t actually confer ownership and may or may not confer voting rights (though with a non-independent entity, it’s not even clear what you’d be voting on). Come July 18, though, the tracking stock will be converted into a “real” stock, which will start trading on July 19.

It’s important to note that this is, at this point, just an announcement of the planned date for the move — nothing has actually changed about the move itself. When Kris and I wrote about this back in November, we speculated regarding the possible reasons for this move, so you can still check all of that out if you’re so inclined. Fundamentally, come July 18-19, the Braves will be that much closer to a sale to another entity, but we still don’t know how exactly Liberty Media will handle ownership of the franchise after the split — that is, how much of the equity it will control, and whether/when it will choose to sell a controlling stake to another entity.

Theoretically, MLB can intervene and either delay or somehow preclude this move, though it has not done so yet. It also has much bigger problems and fish to fry than the Braves getting spun off, given that Diamond Sports Group remains in bankruptcy proceedings that are crawling along towards some kind of final resolution that will affect how millions watch MLB’s product daily.

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