Egyptian Billionaire Builds Stake in Owner of Knicks, Rangers

The family office of Egyptian billionaire Nassef Sawiris disclosed that it has a 5% stake in Madison Square Garden Sports Corp., the holding company that owns the New York Knicks and Rangers.

NNS Holding disclosed the passive stake in a regulatory filing Thursday. The filing also said that the position will grow to roughly 6.3% by March, making Sawiris one of the three largest owners of the stock. The firm views Madison Square Garden and its sport franchises as undervalued, according to a person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because discussions are private.

A representative for NNS declined to comment beyond the filing.

Sawiris is Egypt’s wealthiest man, with a net worth of about $6.4 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He has invested in German sporting-goods maker Adidas AG as well as English soccer club Aston Villa.

Madison Square Garden Sports shares have lost 15% this year as the global Covid-19 pandemic forced the NBA and NHL to finish their 2020 seasons in fanless bubbles. And while the NHL has yet to reach an agreement on when it will start its next season, the NBA is proceeding with a truncated 72-game season that will have limited or no in-person attendance at games.

The cloud hanging over sports could present an opportunity to wealthy investors like Sawiris who have long time horizons. Madison Square Garden Sports’ market capitalization currently stands at $4.3 billion, or $300 million less than what Forbes has estimated just the Knicks are worth.

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