Walt Disney Company sells major interest in YES network

Walt Disney,Walt Disney Companies,21st Century Fox,YES Network,Sports Business News

The Walt Disney Company has announced the sale of its equity interest in the YES Network to a newly-formed investor group that includes Yankee Global Enterprises and Sinclair Broadcast Group among others.

Yankee Global Enterprises is the parent company of New York Yankees.

The group acquired the 80 percent of the YES Network not already held by the Yankees at a total enterprise value of $3.47 billion, Disney has stated in a Press release. The valuation is nearly $500 million less than when 21st Century Fox acquired a majority stake in 2014.

Disney was required to sell off Fox’s regional sports networks as part of its $71 billion deal to acquire Fox’s entertainment assets, which triggered Yankee Global Enterprises’ right-of-first-refusal to buy back YES Network shares.

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The transaction has also received the approval of the US Department of Justice.

Last year, Disney and Twenty-First Century Fox had entered into a consent decree with the Department of Justice that allowed Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox to proceed while requiring the subsequent sale of 21st Century Fox’s interests in 22 regional sports networks, including the YES Network.

On August 23, Sinclair completed its acquisition of 21 of the RSNs from Disney, excluding the YES Network.

According to reports, Sinclair has acquired 20% of the network via its subsidiary Diamond Sports Group for about $346 million. Yankee Global Enterprises will be the majority owner with a 26% stake in the company. Amazon will receive roughly a 15% stake in the company, while the other investors include RedBird Capital, funds managed by Blackstone’s Tactical Opportunities business, and Mubadala Capital.

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