Atlanta Braves Fans Can Now Own a Piece of the MLB Team

Fans of Major League Baseball can now own a stake in the Atlanta Braves after the franchise became the league’s only publicly-traded team.

(Bloomberg) — Fans of Major League Baseball can now own a stake in the Atlanta Braves after the franchise became the league’s only publicly-traded team.

The MLB’s best team was worth roughly $2.74 billion when Atlanta Braves Holdings Inc. began trading as a common stock on Wednesday, based on roughly 61.7 million shares spread across three share classes, according to a company filing. The team’s debut wasn’t greeted with much investor fanfare as Class A shares — under the ticker BATRA — popped as high as $54.94 before tumbling 15%.

The formal split from Liberty Media Corp. is expected to unlock value for investors and could open the door for a more seamless sale of the team. Seaport analyst David Joyce estimated the Braves are worth between $3.1 billion and $3.7 billion earlier this month, highlighting the increase in interest from investor groups and private equity to invest in professional sports teams.

The 2021 World Series champions began regular way trading Wednesday as a typical asset-backed stock, transitioning from a status as a tracking stock, after investors approved the split. 

On Wednesday, less than 320,000 shares of the Class A stock changed hands while the Class C shares saw even less activity. Liberty Braves Class C shares may see more action in the coming days after investors that hold Liberty Media Corp-Liberty Formula One received a small fraction of the Braves shares for each Formula One stock they hold. 

Liberty Braves Class A shares were indicated to open higher in trading before Thursday’s stock market open. Prior to the formal debut the shares had been on a tear.

Although investors can purchase shares in the Toronto Blue Jays via Rogers Communications, the Canadian media conglomerate, the Atlanta Braves will be the only stand-alone baseball team with public shares for fans to buy. 

Atlanta Braves Holdings will include the MLB team, which boasts an MLB best 61-33 record, and its associated real estate development known as The Battery which includes its ballpark. Truist Park, the home of the Braves, has averaged more than 39,000 fans per game so far this year, good for a spot amount the top performers this year. The team’s strong performance on the field and a steady increase in attendance bode well for its valuation, wrote Joyce.

Investor optimism has been shared by Mario Gabelli for some time. The Gamco Investors Inc. founder told Bloomberg Television’s Surveillance back in May that shares could rise as high as $55.

Although fans can now buy a sake in the team, cable billionaire John Malone’s holding in the Braves gives him voting power controlling nearly 50% of the stock, according to filings. That’s driven by his ownership of 97% of the Class B shares which have 10 votes compared to the Class A’s one vote.

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