Major League Baseball franchise the New York Yankees is reportedly in talks with e-commerce giant Amazon and US media company Sinclair Broadcast Group about a partnership to secure control of its regional sports network Yes.
The Wall Street Journal said talks are at an early stage with the Yankees also said to have approached cable operator Altice USA in its efforts to secure the remaining 80 per cent stake in Yes Network.
Yankee Global Enterprise currently has a 20-per-cent ownership stake in Yes, which the team formed in 2001. In March 2014, media company 21st Century Fox completed a deal to increase its interest in Yes Network to a controlling 80-per-cent stake. The concluded deal raised 21st Century Fox’s ownership position in Yes Network to 80 per cent from the 49 per cent it acquired in November 2012.
The Yes Network delivers exclusive live local television coverage of Yankees and Brooklyn Nets NBA basketball games, as well as Major League Soccer outfit New York City FC’s matches and other local and national sports-related programming.
Yes Network is currently a consolidated entity of 21st Century Fox and is one of the set of assets that media company Disney is required to sell as part of its deal to acquire Fox’s film and television assets.
The Yankees have a first option on the 80-per-cent stake in Yes Network, for which Disney is reportedly seeking a valuation of between $5bn (€4.4bn) and $6bn.
The Journal added that private-equity firm RedBird Capital Partners is working closely with the Yankees and has been in talks with the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and Abu Dhabi state fund Mubadala Investment about investing in Yes.