Buy MSG shares because a spinoff will unlock the value of New York Knicks: Jefferies 

Kristaps Porzingis #6 of the New York Knicks goes to the basket against the New Orleans Pelicans on January 14, 2018 at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Nathaniel S. Butler | NBAE | Getty Images

Jefferies believes Madison Square Garden’s proposal to spinoff its sports teams into a separate stock will increase shareholder value.

The firm raised its rating for the company’s shares to buy from hold on Wednesday, citing the rising value of the New York Knicks and Rangers.

“MSG possesses a collection of unique, world class sports and entertainment assets which are largely underappreciated by investors. As MSG intends to separate the Sports and Entertainment businesses in a tax-free spin, we expect the discount to fair value to narrow and shares to better reflect the considerable instrinsic value of the assets,” analyst John Janedis said in the note to clients. “The last several transactions across the major sports leagues highlight the value of these scarce assets, underscored by multiple expansion. With broadcast rights expected to rise upon renewal, and appealing international growth prospects for the NBA, we expect team values to continue to rise.”

On Wednesday Madison Square Garden Company announced it would explore a possible spinoff to create a separate, public company for its sports franchises, including the New York Knicks and New York Rangers.