It's Official: News Corp. to Buy 49 Percent Stake in YES Network

The Hollywood Reporter
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Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. and Yankee Global Enterprises made things official Tuesday, unveiling a deal that calls for the entertainment conglomerate to acquire a 49 percent equity stake in the Yankees Entertainment and Sports (YES) Network.

The price tag wasn't specified. The investment is expected to close by the end of the calendar year. It will boost the company's regional sports networks portfolio.

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The current owners - Yankee Global Enterprises, Goldman Sachs and other investors - will reduce their holdings as part of the transaction. After three years, News Corp. has the right to buy an additional stake in the YES Network to bring its ownership to 80 percent.

YES also announced a new media rights agreement that will keep Yankees baseball games on the network through 2042. It is subject to Major League Baseball approval. Financial terms of it weren't disclosed either.

"We've long been a believer in the unique appeal of sports entertainment," said News Corp. deputy COO James Murdoch, the son of chairman and CEO Rupert. "This is a tremendous opportunity to enhance News Corporation’s industry-leading portfolio of sports properties, while also strategically re-entering the New York market."

He added: "The YES Network represents the gold standard for regional sports networks and is a pioneer in sports media."

James Murdoch has been sitting on the board of Yankees Global Enterprises.


Twitter: @georgszalai