NEW YORK -- Time Warner Inc. finalized an agreement Monday
to sell the Atlanta Braves to Liberty Media Corp. after more than a
year of negotiations.
The deal, which values the team at $450 million, was submitted
to Major League Baseball for its approval process, two people
familiar with the deal said, speaking on condition of anonymity
because no announcement had been made and publicly traded companies
The parties hope baseball will approve the sale in time for the
team to be transferred by Opening Day, the person said. Under the
agreement, Terry McGuirk will remain in charge of the team after
the sale. General manager John Schuerholz and manager Bobby Cox
also are expected to remain on, the person said.
The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the finalization
on its Web site, said Time Warner will transfer the Braves, a group
of craft magazines and $1 billion in cash to Liberty in exchange
for about 60 million shares of Time Warner. Based on the closing
price of Time Warner's stock Monday, the market value of those
shares would be about $1.27 billion.
Liberty Media spokesman John Orr and Time Warner spokesman Ed
Adler declined to comment.
"We received certain of the sale documents today but have not
yet reviewed them," said Bob DuPuy, baseball's chief operating
He said baseball staff will go over the documents to make sure
they meet baseball's usual sale rules.
"It will then go to the ownership committee, then will go to
the executive council, then will go to the clubs," he said.
The parties had waited to receive tax opinions before reaching
an agreement, the person involved in the deal said. The agreement
was designed to minimize taxes.
Liberty currently has about 170 million shares of Time Warner,
which is equivalent to a stake of about 4 percent of the media
company, whose holdings include Time Warner Cable, HBO, AOL, CNN,
Warner Bros. and Time Inc. The deal would reduce the size of
Liberty's stake in Time Warner to about 2.6 percent.
Time Warner acquired the Braves when it bought Atlanta-based
Turner Broadcasting Systems from Ted Turner in the mid-1990s.