The board of directors for Cablevision Systems Corporation has authorized the company's management to move forward with the spin-off of the Madison Square Garden (MSG) business to Cablevision stockholders, it was announced today (July 30).

The transaction would be structured as a tax-free pro rata spin-off to Cablevision's existing shareholders and is expected to be completed by year-end 2009, subject to necessary approvals.

Once the spin-off is complete, Cablevision shareholders would own shares in both Cablevision and the new MSG. It is anticipated that the spin-off would be in the form of a pro rata distribution to all shareholders of Cablevision, with holders of Class A common stock receiving Class A shares in Madison Square Garden and holders of Class B common stock receiving Class B shares in Madison Square Garden.

Both Cablevision and the new MSG would be controlled by the Dolan family through their ownership of Class B shares. Cablevision also reiterated that it is not considering the sale of MSG, any of MSG's businesses or any other Cablevision business at this time.

Following the spin-off, James Dolan would become executive chairman of the new, public Madison Square Garden and would continue in his present role as president and CEO of Cablevision. Hank Ratner would be president and CEO of Madison Square Garden, and would remain Cablevision's vice chairman. Charles Dolan would continue in his role as Cablevision's chairman.

Madison Square Garden Entertainment, the live event division of MSG, is expected to remain as it is: Jay Marciano will remain as MSGE's president, and it is believed the MSG senior management team would remain in place.

The new MSG assets will include: media properties, including the MSG, MSG Plus and Fuse networks, as well as MSG Interactive's collection of online assets; sports teams, including the Knicks and Rangers franchises; a live entertainment portfolio, including the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, concerts, family shows and special events; and venues, including Madison Square Garden and Radio City Music Hall, the Beacon Theatre, the Chicago Theatre and the Wang Theatre in Boston.