Investors have called a foul on the parent company of the New York Knicks.
Shares in Madison Square Garden posted their steepest fall on record Tuesday after the group said its losses widened in the most recent quarter amid weaker concert revenue and a new revenue accounting standard. The sell-off also came after MSG revealed the cost of building a new entertainment venue in Las Vegas.
The stock skid more than 9 per cent at its lows. It was recently down 8.3 per cent to $269.03, putting MSG on course to close at its lowest level since January. It would also reflect MSG’s biggest one-day drop since it split from MSG Networks in the fall of 2015.
MSG — owner of sports and entertainment venues, the NBA’s Knicks and the NHL’s New York Rangers — reported a net loss of $73.2m in its fiscal fourth quarter that ended June 30, compared with a $46m loss in the year-ago period. On a per-share basis, MSG’s loss of $3.08 was worse than analysts’ average forecast for a loss of $2.61, according to Refinitiv.
Its MSG Sports segment, which includes the Knicks and Rangers, saw its sales decline 32 per cent, primarily due to the impact of a change in revenue recognition. MSG Entertainment unit revenues were down 6 per cent on softer event-related sales.
Total company revenue fell 17 per cent to $263.6m, missing the consensus estimate of $270.1m.
The company may face higher-than-expected construction costs for MSG Sphere, a Las Vegas venue that is scheduled to open in 2021. In May, MSG’s board approved a preliminary cost estimate of $1.2bn, the company said Tuesday. Aecom, the project’s general contractor, has since submitted a $1.7bn proposal. MSG said it is seeking cost reductions.
MSG plans to spin-off of its sports unit, a move that it now expects to complete in the first quarter of 2020.
“We acknowledge it has taken a little longer than we would have liked,” Andrew Lustgarten, president of MSG, said on an earnings call. “We’re fully committed to moving it forward.”
The proposed split was first revealed in 2018 and ignited speculation that James Dolan, executive chairman and chief executive of MSG, may look to sell the Knicks and Rangers. But Mr Dolan has said he has no interest in selling the teams.
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