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Amazon among bidders for Disney's regional sports networks, including YES

Amazon is said to be looking to expand its foothold in live programming, with an eye on the 22 regional sports networks that 21st Century Fox is spinning off before it is acquired by Disney. (Credit: CHEDDAR)

Amazon is among the companies bidding to buy 22 regional sports networks, including the YES Network, from Disney, which acquired the networks from 21st Century Fox, CNBC reported Tuesday morning.

CNBC reported that Apollo Global Management, KKR, The Blackstone Group Sinclair Broadcast Group and Tegna also submitted first-round bids to purchase the regional networks. CNBC also reported that an “unknown sovereign wealth fund, along with the Yankees” submitted a bid to buy the YES Network, which broadcasts Yankees and Nets games, among other sporting events. Bloomberg reported earlier this month that the Yankees were planning to buy back the YES Network.

Disney and Fox agreed to a deal last year where Disney would acquire Fox’s movie and television studios. The Justice Department approved the deal in June, but required Disney, which already owns ESPN, to sell the 22 regional sports networks to complete the transaction.

Fox did not submit a bid to buy back the sports networks but could participate in the second round of bids, according to CNBC.

Fox raised its ownership stake in the YES Network from 49 to 80 percent in January 2014, exercising a right that was part of the original deal announced in 2012. The Yankees continue to own 20 percent of the YES Network. Bloomberg reported in June that the YES Network was valued at $3.8 billion when Fox first bought a stake in 2012.

Amazon has already entered into the sports broadcasting business with an agreement to stream 11 NFL “Thursday Night Football” games – using the Fox broadcast –in the 2018 and 2019 seasons.

New York Sports