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21st Century Fox buys YES Network majority stake

Continuing its corporate predecessor’s legacy of the primacy of sport, Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox is to acquire a majority stake in the Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network.

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.

Since 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 nine million households in the teams’ television territory in the New York area.

The acquisition will see the YES Network will become a consolidated entity of 21st Century Fox which will raise its ownership position in the American regional sports network to 80% from the current 49% it acquired in 2012. The remaining 20% will continue to be held by Yankee Global Enterprises.

Subject to regulatory and other requisite approvals, the deal is expected to close by the end of the first calendar quarter of 2014.

Tracy Dolgin, President and Chief Executive Officer of the YES network, will remain in his role leading the network. He commented: “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.”

“Our investment in the YES Network underscores our commitment to growing our global sports portfolio with offerings that are exceptional and unique,” added James Murdoch, Deputy Chief Operating Officer, 21st Century Fox. “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.”

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