News Corp. opted Friday not to split from Cablevision Systems Corp. on
their regional sports partnership, undoubtedly a huge relief for the cable
Had News Corp. exercised its put on the regional sports partnership,
Cablevision would have been stuck with a stiff $1 billion payment.
Now, the partnership -- which includes Fox Sports Nets and other regional
sports channels, as well as Madison Square Garden -- remains essentially intact until December
2005, with Cablevision keeping its 60 percent stake and News Corp. retaining 40
To even out its investments, News Corp. did elect a secondary option,
reducing its 50 percent stake in two regional nets -- Fox Sports Net Chicago and
FSN Bay Area -- down to 40 percent.
That will cost the partnership about $100 million,
clearly a milder number.