Rupert Murdoch’s company is nearing a deal to buy out stakes in the New York Yankees’ regional sports network that are owned by private equity companies including Goldman Sachs and Providence Equity Partners, I’m told. The sellers are said to have wanted to value the network at as much as $4B, although News Corp deemed that way too high. But a deal with YES would add immeasurable strength to the company’s collection of sports networks which include Big Ten Network, Fox College Sports, Fox Soccer, and Speed. YES reaches more than 12M pay TV homes, and generated $474.3M in revenue last year, SNL Kagan estimates. About $69M came from advertising with the rest from pay TV affiliate fees of about $3 per subscriber per month. The private equity firms own about 66% of the network while Yankee Global Enterprises — which includes the Yankees — controls the remaining equity. News Corp Deputy COO James Murdoch sits on the Yankee Global Enterprises board. The private equity firms had been eyeing a possible exit for a while, but their interest in a deal grew this year when they saw the Dodgers attract $2B in its sale to Guggenheim Baseball Management, which includes former Los Angeles Lakers star Magic Johnson.
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