The Denver Post is looking to sell a piece of its stake in the Colorado Rockies, according to multiple people familiar with the plans.
The newspaper, owned by hedge fund Alden Global Capital, owns a 7.3% stake in the MLB team. The group is looking to sell about half of that stake, according to the people, who were granted anonymity because the details are private.
The Post has retained Inner Circle Sports to assist in the sale, the people said. A representative for the Rockies, currently controlled by brothers Dick and Charlie Monfort, declined to comment. Inner Circle declined to comment, while a representative for Alden Global didn’t return an inquiry.
Minority stake sales, once considered passion investments for the ultra-wealthy, have grown more interesting in the past few years after the NBA, NHL, MLB and MLS changed their ownership rules to allow private equity firms to buy up passive stakes in teams. Now LP stakes like the Post’s Rockies equity can be sold not just to individuals looking to dip their toe in sports ownership, but also to PE firms looking to capture the rapid appreciation of sports franchises.
Unlike other leagues, MLB has placed no cap on the number of different teams that a single fund can hold in its portfolio—the limit is five in the NHL and NBA, and four in MLS. Arctos Sports Partners, for example, has already invested in the Dodgers, Cubs, Giants, Padres, Astros and Red Sox.
Sportico recently valued the Rockies at $1.43 billion, ranked No. 22 in MLB and No. 87 across the major U.S. leagues. At that valuation, a 3% stake would be worth about $43 million.
The Post has explored a sale of the Rockies stake before. Back in 2012, amid a surge in MLB franchise valuations and a sharpened focus on digital media, the newspaper retained sports-focused investment bank Park Lane to seek potential buyers for the stake. A sale never happened. (Forbes valued the Rockies at $464 million in 2012, meaning the club’s valuation has since tripled).
Alden Global Capital, one of the largest owners of newspapers in the U.S., purchased The Denver Post in 2011. Along with the Post, its portfolio includes the Chicago Tribune, the Mercury News, the Orlando Sentinel and the Boston Herald. The company has drawn criticism from people who accuse it of buying up legacy papers, then selling off assets and slashing staff.
The Monforts consolidated their ownership in the Rockies in 2005 (Dick is chairman and CEO; Charlie is general partner). In addition to The Denver Post, other minority owners in the club include Alvarado Construction, Breakthru Beverage Group and SAMT Sports 2013.
The Rockies led the National League in attendance in each of their first seven MLB seasons, but the numbers have since dipped. The club currently ranks sixth in NL attendance, and sits in last place in the NL West.
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