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FOX plus YES equals what?

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News Corporation has an agreement to acquire a 49 percent equity stake in the YES Network. After three years, News Corporation can acquire a stake that takes it to 80 percent. People, of course, are wondering if these FOX people will try to buy the Yankees from the Steinbrenners down the road.

YES also now has a rights agreement to carry Yankees games through 2042.

Here’s a statement from Hal Steinbrenner:

“This transaction underscores the great value we and our partners created in establishing the YES Network and sets the network on the path for even greater achievements in the future.  We are excited to have News Corporation as a partner.  Its stature and acumen in sports broadcasting on a global scale is unmatched.  We look forward to the many opportunities for growth and development that this investment by News Corporation will bring to YES.  The Steinbrenner family expects to have a continuing, long-term ownership stake in the YES Network and we will continue our yearly commitment of fielding a championship caliber team for decades to come.”

Here’s a statement from YES CEO Tracy Dolgin:

“We at YES, along with the New York Yankees and our financial partners Goldman Sachs, NJ Holdings and Providence Equity, had an incredible opportunity to build a network that quickly became – and remains — the number one regional sports network in the country, based on any metric. We were able to accomplish this because we have the greatest sports brand in the world, the New York Yankees, other important programming such as the rejuvenated Brooklyn Nets, the unwavering support of our board and, last but not least, an incredibly talented and dedicated group of employees.

“FOX wrote the book on regional sports networks, and we are excited to partner with FOX and take advantage of this opportunity to build upon our leadership position. In particular, Ray Hopkins (YES Network COO), John Filippelli (YES Network, President of Production and Programming) and I have all previously worked at FOX, and we are eager to renew our working relationships with the company and with many of our friends and former colleagues. At the same time, we are fortunate to continue to benefit from the vision and support of our current ownership. We are particularly thrilled for our valued employees, who will continue with the YES Network and will benefit from the multitude of resources and opportunities that FOX brings to the table. We look forward to having FOX join our winning team.”