Amazon, the eCommerce giant, is reportedly making a bid for all of the 22 regional sports networks that Disney purchased as part of its Twenty-First Century Fox deal.
CNBC, citing sources familiar with the matter, reported Amazon is teaming up with an unknown sovereign wealth fund and the Yankees to bid for the YES Network. YES, the New York network could be sold separately from the other networks, reported CNBC. CNBC noted that Apollo Global Management, KKR, The Blackstone Group, Sinclair Broadcast Group and Tegna have all submitted initial bids for all of the networks Disney is putting up for sale.
CNBC noted that FOX, which owns the YES Network along with the New York Yankees, was viewed as a frontrunner in the beginning for the close to two dozen networks across the country. CNBC noted Fox didn’t submit a bid in the first round but it could get involved in the second round. In order for Disney and Twenty-First Century to complete their deal, the Justice Department ordered Disney to sell the regional sports networks. Fox had acquired 80 percent of YES in two transactions, one in 2012 and another in 2014. The second round of bids is slated to come in before the end of 2018. Due diligence on the bids will commence next week, reported CNBC. CNBC wasn’t able to ascertain how much the suitors are bidding on the regional networks.
For months now Amazon has been going after original content including live entertainment and sports. This fall it launched a new NFL pre-game show on Thursdays, hosted by sports journalists Hannah Storm and Andrea Kremer. Amazon Prime Video said the two will provide commentary and analysis for its live streaming coverage of Thursday Night Football games on Prime Video.