Fox To Acquire Majority Stake In Yankees’ YES Network

Company adds to its regional-sports TV holdings with deal, which is expected to close by the end of the first quarter

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21st Century Fox is acquiring a majority stake in the Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network, also known as YES, raising its ownership position in the regional sports network to 80% from the current 49%  it acquired in 2012.

The YES Network delivers exclusive live local television coverage of New York Yankees baseball and Brooklyn Nets basketball, as well as other local and national sports programming.  The acquisition is expected to close by the end of the first calendar quarter, subject to regulatory and other requisite approvals, the company said.

The deal will bolster 21st Century Fox’s regional sports holdings. The company already operates f 22 U.S. regional sports networks, which collectively produce over 5,000 live local events each year and serve as the local TV homes to more than half of all MLB, NHL, and NBA teams.

Tracy Dolgin, president and CEO of the YES Network, will remain in his role, 21st Century Fox said. The remaining 20% stake in the network will continue to be held by Yankee Global Enterprises.  As a result of the acquisition, the YES Network will become a consolidated entity of 21st Century Fox.

YES broadcasts live Yankees and Nets games to approximately 9 million households in the teams’ television territory in the New York area.  Outside of the New York area, YES also distributes national programming to millions of homes across the country.

“Our investment in the YES Network underscores our commitment to growing our global sports portfolio with offerings that are exceptional and unique,” said James Murdoch, Deputy Chief Operating Officer, 21st Century Fox, in a prepare statement.   “We look forward to expanding our partnership with Yankee Global Enterprises and to working with the network’s management team to build on the YES Network’s success.”