The Walt Disney Company announced that it has sold its equity interest in the YES Network to a newly formed investor group that includes Yankee Global Enterprises, Sinclair Broadcast Group, and Amazon.
The group acquired the 80 percent of the YES Network not already owned by the Yankees, at a value of $3.47 billion. Additional equity investors include RedBird Capital, funds managed by Blackstone’s Tactical Opportunities business, and Mubadala Capital.
“This transaction brings the YES Network and all of its popular programming even closer to the organization that inspired its very development,” Hal Steinbrenner, CEO of Yankee Global Enterprises, said in a press release. “Along with our partners, we look forward to greatly expanding the way that sports content is delivered and consumed by fans everywhere.”
Randy Levine, president of the New York Yankees, added: “Throughout its nearly two-decades on-air, the YES Network has set the gold standard for regional sports coverage. We look forward to working with our strategic partners and our investors — RedBird Capital, Blackstone and Mubadala Capital — to expand the network in innovative and exciting ways.”
And Gerry Cardinale, managing partner of RedBird Capital, said: “The Yankees have assembled a tremendous ownership group to steward YES as the premier regional sports network in the country. It has been a privilege to work with the Yankees and the Steinbrenner family for almost two decades since we created the YES Network back in 2001. We are excited to continue this partnership and to be part of this team.”
The transaction was approved by the U.S. Department of Justice. Last year, Disney and 21st Century Fox entered into a consent decree with the DOJ that allowed Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox under the condition that 21st Century Fox sell its interests in 22 regional sports networks, including the YES Network.