– Madison Square Garden Company, the owner of the New York Knicks and New York Rangers, as well as the New York Liberty of the WNBA, said on Friday that it intends to split its sports and entertainment business away from its media ventures in order to create two separate publicly traded companies. Besides the aforementioned professional sports franchises, the company’s entertainment business includes: other live sporting events and concerts at Madison Square Garden, performances at the Radio City Music Hall, The Chicago Theater, the Forum in Inglewood, Calif. and the Wang Theater in Boston. Madison Square Garden, popularly referred to as “The World’s Most Famous Arena,” underwent a $1 billion renovation in the summer of 2011 that was completed two years later. The company’s media business includes two regional sports networks in the MSG Network and MSG +, as well as Fuse, a music-oriented network. The MSG Network and MSG+ will continue to serve as the exclusive local broadcast home of the Knicks and the Rangers, the company said in a statement. “After review, MSG’s Board of Directors believes that, while MSG has created significant shareholder value since it was established as a public company five years ago, separating MSG’s live sports and entertainment businesses from its media business now would further enhance the long-term value-creation potential of both businesses,” the Madison Square Garden Company said in a statement. “While the companies would continue to benefit from commercial arrangements between them, the separation would provide each company with increased strategic flexibility to pursue its own distinctive business plan and allow each to have a capital structure and capital return policy that is appropriate for its business. Upon completion of the spin-off, MSG shareholders would own shares in both companies and have the ability to evaluate each company’s current business and future prospects in making investment decisions,” Madison Square Garden added. Shares in the Madison Square Garden Company soared 5.77 or 7.15% in after hours trading. Earlier, Madison Square Garden closed on Friday at 80.73, up 1.23 or 1.55%.