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21st Century Fox ups stake In Yes Network to 80%

MUMBAI: Rupert Murdoch-controlled 21st Century Fox (21CF) is upping its stake in Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network (YES Network) from 49 per cent to 80 per cent.

The company, which had acquired minority stake in the regional sports network in 2012, made the announcement on Friday.

21CF will acquire shares of Goldman Sachs and Providence Equity Partners, who will exit completely, while the remaining 20 per cent stake will continue to be held by Yankee Global Enterprises.

The YES Network delivers exclusive live local television coverage of New York Yankees baseball and Brooklyn Nets basketball, as well as other Emmy Award-winning 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.

YES Network president and chief executive officer Tracy Dolgin will continue to lead the company post the deal.

“Our investment in the YES Network underscores our commitment to growing our global sports portfolio with offerings that are exceptional and unique,” said 21CF deputy chief operating officer James Murdoch. “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.”

Since its inception in 2002, the YES Network has grown its footprint to include local availability in New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, and parts of Pennsylvania, as well as national availability on several cable and satellite television distributors. The network currently showcases 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, the YES Network also distributes a variety of national programming to millions of homes across the country.

Yankee Global Enterprises chairman Hal Steinbrenner said, “Clearly, 21st Century Fox is a great partner for us as the YES Network fulfills and expands its potential as one of the nation’s premier regional sports networks. We are gratified that 21st Century Fox has increased their stake and investment in the network. Yankee Global Enterprises is eager to continue working with 21st Century Fox as we explore ways to take YES to even greater heights.”