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NEW YORK (AP) _ News Corporation said Tuesday it was acquiring a 49 percent stake in the Yes Network, the New York Yankees’ regional cable sports channel.
Yankee Global Enterprises, Goldman Sachs and other investors will reduce their ownership as part of the transaction.
“The Steinbrenner family expects to have a continuing, long-term ownership stake in the Yes Network and we will continue our yearly commitment of fielding a championship caliber team for decades to come,” Yankees managing partner Hal Steinbrenner said in a statement.
The Yankees also committed to stay on Yes Network through 2042, subject to approval of the deal from Major League Baseball.
News Corp., which owns Fox, may acquire an additional stake in the Yes Network after three years that could bring its ownership to 80 percent. Yankee Global Enterprises would retain a significant minority stake.
“We’ve long been a believer in the unique appeal of sports entertainment,” News Corp. deputy chief operating officer James Murdoch said in a statement.
“This is a tremendous opportunity to enhance News Corporation’s industry-leading portfolio of sports properties, while also strategically re-entering the New York market,” he added.
Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. is emerging from the phone hacking scandal in Britain. The company is in the midst of a plan to split into two parts _ one housing its newspapers, Australian operations and for-profit education business, and the other its more profitable TV and movie businesses.
Fox Sports Media Group already owns 20 U.S. regional sports networks. With Fox’s investment in the Big Ten Network and Rutgers’ plans to join the conference, this deal could help get the college sports channel into more homes in the New York area.
Yes Network, which also broadcasts Brooklyn Nets games, launched in 2002. It has approximately 9 million subscribers in the New York area among about 15 million nationally.