Madison Square Garden will separate its sports and entertainment business, which owns the Knicks, Rangers and sports and concert venues, from its media business, which runs the MSG Network.

The company expects to complete a tax-free spinoff later this year. Madison Square Garden Co. said yesterday that the split will let both businesses create more value for shareholders.

Shares of Madison Square Garden rose $3.52, or 4.4 percent, to $84.25 in after-hours trading.

The sports and entertainment business owns the NBA's Knicks, the Rangers of the National Hockey League, and the WNBA's New York Liberty. It also runs Madison Square Garden itself, along with the Theater at Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall, the Beacon Theatre, and other venues as well as entertainment joint ventures, an interest in Fuse Media, and live productions like the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.

The media business distributes sports and entertainment content through the MSG Network and MSG Network+ regional networks.

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In October the company said it might split the entertainment business into one company and the media and sports business into another. Madison Square Garden stock has climbed 46 percent over the last 12 months and is trading around all-time highs. -- AP

The Dolan family owns controlling interests in the Knicks/Rangers, Madison Square Garden and Cablevision. Cablevision

owns Newsday.