The bids for 21st Century Fox assets from Disney and Comcast are concerning to the Yankees front office. If either reaches a deal that includes Fox’s regional sports networks, it would have controlling interest in YES. Fox purchased a 49% stake in YES in 2012 for $3.8 billion. In 2014, the Yankees sold controlling interest to the network, giving Fox (and any potential buyer) 80% control of YES.
That 2014 deal did include some protections for the Yankees if Fox ever decided to sell its RSNs. Bloomberg News spoke to an anonymous source that says the team is considering a clause in the contract that would allow them to buy back controlling interest in YES.
The Yankees are not looking to buy back all of Fox’s shares of YES, just controlling interest. It wouldn’t be cheap according to the Bloomberg News article.
“It would be worth $4 billion or more by now, based on the success of the Yankees and the fact that it’s in the nation’s No. 1 market,” industry consultant Lee Berke said. “It’s not dropping in value. It’s only increasing.”
Bloomberg’s source didn’t cite the motivation for a potential buyback, but it is safe to assume that the Yankees would prefer their television network not be at the heart of a dispute with federal regulators should Comcast win the bid.
Disney and 21st Century Fox agreed to a $52.4 billion deal in December and are awaiting approval from shareholders. Comcast entered a $65 billion dollar bid for the same assets earlier this week,