Goldman would consider YES stake sale at right price

NEW YORK -- The cable network which carries the New York Yankees' games is for sale, according to a report by Fortune magazine.

The YES Network could be worth $3 billion or more, according to Fortune's calculations, which are based on the network's cash flow and what other regional networks have been worth.

Yankee Global Enterprises, the team's parent company, owns about 35 percent of the network, with the remainder controlled by Goldman Sachs Group and Providence Equity Partners, and an investment group headed by former New Jersey Nets owner Ray Chambers.

"We're testing the waters with a limited universe of quality buyers," Gerry Cardinale, a Goldman managing director, told Fortune. "We would consider selling only if we receive a full and fair price."

"We've owned the network for the past six years. All we're doing is getting a current view from the marketplace on the network's value," Goldman Sachs spokesman Peter Rose was quoted Thursday by The Associated Press. "From Goldman Sachs' perspective, we have made no decision to sell. If we got an offer that in our view reflected the premium value of the network, we would consider it."

The Yankees currently plan to keep their stake and say they must approve any incoming partners to the network.

"The YES Network is not for sale," Yankees president Randy
Levine said.

He did say in the Fortune article that there was some "testing of the market," and added in Friday's New York Times that: "We're testing the market for our financial partners, not for the Yankees' stake. The whole network isn't for sale."

Fortune reports that Goldman and Chambers want to see YES sold, and the Yankees are going along with the deal, which could be completed by the end of the summer.

The Yankees are not currently for sale, though Fortune speculated that the franchise might be next.

The New York Mets launched a similar network last year, SportsNet New York, with members of the team's ownership partnering with Time Warner and Comcast.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.