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Yankees weighing up full control of Yes Network

Major League Baseball franchise the New York Yankees is considering buying back US regional pay-television sports broadcaster Yes Network, according to multiple reports.

The Bloomberg news agency, citing a person familiar with the matter, said Yankee Global Enterprise is weighing up increasing the current 20 per cent stake it holds 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 now a consolidated entity of 21st Century Fox and is one of the set of assets that Fox is currently seeking to sell. On Wednesday, Comcast tabled a $65bn (€55bn) all-cash offer for a significant share of 21st Century Fox’s business assets, challenging a deal struck in December between the latter and media giant Disney.

Bloomberg said the 2014 deal between the Yankees and Fox included a clause that gives the baseball team the right to buy back Yes Network in the event Fox puts it up for sale.

Comcast and Disney have said they would be open to divesting Fox’s regional sports networks if it helps secure government approval for their bids for the wider 21st Century Fox assets.