Is Rupert Murdoch’s YES Network Deal A Bet That The Cable Bundle Will Stay Intact?

It sure looks that way. If the current arrangement breaks apart, giving way to a system where consumers can buy just the programming that they want, then high-priced channels such as the YES Network could lose their slugging power faster than, well, New York Yankees’ aging star Alex Rodriguez. That doesn’t seem to have factored into Rupert Murdoch‘s thinking for his deal today to buy 49% of the nation’s top regional sports network. The agreement values YES at $3B, or 15 times its annual cash flow. It also gives Murdoch an opportunity to buy 80% of YES with the channel valued at $3.8B, or 19 times cash flow. How high is that? If you applied the same back-of-the-envelope formulas to ESPN, it would be valued anywhere from $45B to $66.5B, Bernstein Research’s Todd Juenger estimates. Either number is far more than investors figure ESPN is worth; Disney’s entire market value — including ABC, the theme parks, and the studios — is $87B.

Related: It’s Official: News Corp Buys 49% Of YES Network (more…)

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