Providence YES Network exit generates 4.5x gross multiple

  • 21st Century Fox ups stake to 80 percent from 49 percent
  • Providence books an IRR of 26 percent on its investment: source
  • Buyout shop marks latest in series of deals

Providence Equity Partners generated a 26 percent IRR on its investment in the YES Network, according to a source. 

The transaction completes the second stage of a deal signed and announced in Nov, 2012 and marks Providence’s final exit from its position in YES Network. 21st Century Fox will emerge with an 80 percent stake in the network, up from 49 percent, after the deal closes as expected at the end of March. 

Providence helped launch YES Network in 2002. It’s currently the most-watched regional sports network in the U.S. and has been for nine straight years.

It’s the third exit from Providence in less than two months. Providence made 3x its money in the $1.8 billion sale of AutoTrader Group Inc to Cox Enterprises Inc, owner of the third-largest cable system in the U.S., sister publication reported in January.

In December, Providence sold George Little Management, a trade show producer, to Onex Corp’s Emerald Expositions, for $335 million. Providence paid $174 million for George Little in 2011.

The Providence, RI firm is targeting $500 million for Providence Debt Fund III, in the fundraising market.  The firm held a final close last year for Providence Equity Partners VII at $5 billion, below its $6 billion target.

Providence specializes in deals from the media, communications, information and education sectors.

(This story has been updated to remove incorrect information about the fundraising target for Providence Equity Partners VII.)