YES Network is on the auction block, and the New York Yankees are seeking partners to buy back control.
So far this offseason, the New York Yankees have been cheapskates when it comes to signing free agents. Expanding their business empire is a different story, as the team looks to spend billions to re-acquire YES Network.
The Bombers currently own 20 percent of YES, which was worth $3.8 billion in 2012. The other 80 percent is in the hands of the Fox broadcasting company.
That means YES is part of the $71.3 billion Disney-Fox merger set to finalize sometime in early 2019.
The contract with current ownership includes a clause that allows the Yankees to repurchase full control in the event of a sale. The Fox sale to Disney will trigger that clause.
When news of Disney’s intention to purchase Fox surfaced in mid-2018, the Yankees immediately began formulating their own plans to buy back the network.
According to reports, Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner may have finally found his investment partners for the potential acquisition. Amazon and Sinclair Broadcasting are discussing the possibility of joining financial forces with the Yanks, per Joe Flint and Anupreeta Das at the Wall Street Journal.
Sinclair is also interested in acquiring the rest of Fox’s regional sports networks. Fox has 22 RSNs, and Disney, which owns ESPN, must sell them all to obtain antitrust approval.
Flint and Das also reported that Disney’s asking price is in the $5-6 billion range. How much of that bill the Yankees would have to foot is unknown. However, it’s probably safe to assume their portion will be worth a few Bryce Harper and Manny Machado deals.
Whatever happens with the YES deal, Yankees fans just hope Hal Steinbrenner doesn’t cut the payroll to pay for his new toy.