Dealmakers Impact Report 2012: Corporate Strategists

Both scions of prominent fathers and strong managers in their own right, Steinbrenner and Murdoch were the drivers behind News Corp.’s November acquisition of 49% of the YES Network, or Yankees Entertainment Television, the nation’s biggest regional sports network. The deal, worth hundreds of millions to the Yankee owners, values the channel at $3 billion. The stake comes from Yankees Global Enterprises, Goldman Sachs and other investors, and the deal gives News Corp. the right to boost its holding to 80% after three years, gaining full control, although the Yankees organization said it will retain a piece of the channel. The pact was shaped in large part by a longstanding relationship between the two execs; Murdoch has served on the board of Yankees Global Enterprises since 2005. He’s the youngest son of News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch and was a strong manager of News Corp.’s television assets abroad, most recently at BSkyB, although his reputation took a hit from the phone-hacking scandal in the U.K. that erupted under his watch. YES is his first major business deal since returning to New York earlier this year and resuming his trajectory on the U.S. television side. He called YES “the gold standard for regional sports networks and a pioneer in sports media.” Steinbrenner gained controlling interest of the Yankees in 2008 as the health of his father, George, declined. (George died in 2010 at age 80.) Hal and his brother Hank are co-chairs of the Yankees — one of the three most valuable sports properties in the world, but Hal runs day-to-day operations there. Last summer, he was busy quashing rumors it was for sale. Announcing the YES deal, he said, “We will continue our yearly commitment of fielding a championship-caliber team for decades to come”

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