By Ben Klayman
CHICAGO, April 28 Hedge fund manager John Henry
is looking at taking control of the money-losing Boston Globe
newspaper as part of a deal to buy New York Times Co's (NYT.N)
stake in the Boston Red Sox baseball team, a source familiar
with the situation said on Tuesday.
The Times put its 17.75 percent stake in New England Sports
Ventures (NESV), which owns the Red Sox, their home field of
Fenway Park and adjacent real estate, up for sale in January.
A spokeswoman for Henry, who led the group that bought the
NESV assets in 2002 for $700 million including debt, referred
questions to the Red Sox. Spokeswomen for the team and the
Times declined to comment.
The Times acquired its stake in the ownership group at that
time for an estimated $75 million. The Red Sox have won two
World Series titles since then.
NESV also includes half of the Roush Fenway Racing NASCAR
team and an 80 percent stake in the NESN regional sports cable
Before the markets deteriorated last year, analysts and
bankers had estimated the Times stake could be worth up to $200
million. A Barclays Capital analyst last year valued it at
about $166 million.
However, the stake's lack of voting rights and Henry's
ability to control who buys it likely makes it far less
valuable, analysts have said. Tight credit makes the possible
list of buyers even shorter.
The U.S. newspaper industry has been losing readers and
advertisers as more people get news online, forcing publishers
to cut budgets and jobs and to sell assets.
The Times said in January that the Red Sox sale did not
include the possibility of selling the Globe, which the Times
bought for more than $1 billion in the 1990s.
The Times has threatened to shut the Globe unless the
newspapers' unions agree to $20 million in concessions, the
Globe reported earlier this month.
Separately, Tribune Co, publisher of the Chicago Tribune
and Los Angeles Times, is trying to close its deal to sell the
Chicago Cubs baseball team and other related assets for $900
(Reporting by Ben Klayman in Chicago; Additional reporting by
Robert MacMillan in New York; Editing by Richard Chang, Toni