News Corp. appears to be close to acquiring a significant stake in the YES Network with an option toward garnering a controlling interest down the road, according to published reports.
While a number of stories surfaced last week about the media giant purchasing some 40% of the regional sports network home of the New York Yankees from investors Goldman Sachs and Providence Equity, The New York Times reported on Sunday the buy could be for up to 49%, based on a valuation of $3 billion. YES also televises games and programming related to the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets.
Moreover, The Times, citing thee people familiar with the talks, indicated that News could avail itself of an option that would enable it to secure 80% of the RSN three or five years from now.
The Yankees, via their holding company, Yankee Global Enterprises, own 34% of YES, while 40 Goldman Sachs and Providence Equity control another 40% or more. The balance is held by some former owners of the Nets, under an entity called Community Youth Organization.
Officials at News and YES declined to comment on Sunday night.
Sources familiar with the negotiations said a pact could be announced within a few days.