I wrote an article yesterday about how George Steinbrenner’s legacy will be marked for how he lived his life as a great American. Well, I need to add another dimension to the Steinbrenner story that is certain to gain some momentum in the days to come.
Not only did “The Boss” utilize every advantage offered to him in life; he also took full advantage of resources offered to him in death. The man wasn’t just a relentless winner; he provided something to his family—albeit unintentional—that will, no doubt, keep ownership of the New York Yankees intact for generations to come.
What am I talking about? Well, the always popular “Death Tax”, of course. Had Big George checked out last year, his family would have been hit with a whopping 45% tax bill; if he waited another 6 months, the rate would have jumped to 55%.
According to today’s New York Post, Steinbrenner had an estimated net worth of $1.1 billion. Therefore, his family probably would have had to sell the family’s 55% stake in the Yankees to satisfy the tax bill, which needs to be paid nine months following the date of death.
Looks like George did the right thing—again.
In 1973, Steinbrenner put together a crop of investors to purchase the Yankees from CBS for $10 million. Steinbrenner’s personal investment: $160,000. Today, the Yankees are worth over $1.6 billion and Steinbrenner’s investment has ballooned up to $880 million, which makes “The Boss” the best investor of the 20th century and pushes Warren Buffet to the runner-up slot!
And this isn’t the first time Uncle Sam has had to take a backseat to guaranteed cash flow. According to The Post, Houston oil tycoon, Dan Duncan, left a net worth of more than $8 billion when he died earlier this year. As a result of the lack of estate taxes, his family saved nearly $4 billion!
Well, as we all know, Congress doesn’t like to be screwed over, and often works in a reactive method of governing. Look for some lawmaker to come up with some pie-in-the-sky motion to “try” and get some of this money—especially with the news coming out about the amount the Steinbrenner’s will save.
Of course, who would be a buyer of the most recognized team in sports? Hmmm…can anyone say Mark Cuban??
I will be appearing live at the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday, July 15, for a one-on-one interview with CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo to discuss quarterly earnings and outlook for the remainder of 2010. The interview is scheduled to occur just before the market close at 3:45pm E.T. and will be rebroadcast on CNBC.com and included in its weekly market segment.
I hope you have a chance to check it out!