Yankees Buy Back YES Network from Disney in $3.5B Deal

The New York Yankees have reached an agreement to repurchase the Yankees Entertainment Sports network (YES) from Disney at a price of $3.4 billion.

The sale of YES will mark the first of the nearly two-dozen Fox Regional Sports Networks, currently held by Disney, expected to be sold.

21st Century Fox had owned 80 percent of YES, while the Yankees held a 20 percent stake. But the Yankees opted to buy back the station following Disney’s $71.3 billion purchase of Fox’s entertainment assets that included the RSNs and is scheduled to close over the next month. As part of the new deal, the Yankees’ stake will grow to closer to 30 percent, these people say.

Disney must sell the RSNs to meet federal antitrust requirements and the bidding on the other Fox regional sports network continues. The RSNs broadcast various sports programming through regional cable carriers around the country.

YES is considered the crown jewel of the 22 RSNs and for that reason, the Yankees were able to leverage the team’s nationally recognized brand to attract numerous investors. The $3.4 billion valuation of YES is higher than the value of most sports franchises; the Yankees, one of sports most profitable teams, have an estimated value of around $4 billion.

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