Times Co. sells part of holdings in Red Sox

By Beth Healy
Globe Staff / July 2, 2011

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The Red Sox have been struggling lately, but the team is paying off for The New York Times Co., which yesterday sold a portion of its Sox holdings for a sizable profit.

The Times Co. reported that it sold more than half its holdings in the Fenway Sports Group, which includes the Sox, for $117 million, recouping more than what the media company spent on its entire original investment.

The company did not disclose the three separate buyers to whom it sold shares. John Henry, Red Sox owner, said, “The purchasers were affiliates of existing partners.’’

The Times Co. sold off 390 of its 700 units, according to a filing with securities regulators, and has reduced its stake to 7.3 percent of Fenway Sports Group. The units sold for $300,000 each, triple the original price the Times Co. paid in 2002.

The media company, which also owns The Boston Globe, has been trying to sell its Sox investment since December 2008, as it sought to raise cash amid declining revenues in the newspaper industry.

Last year the Times Co. sold 50 units of Fenway Sports to Henry F. McCance, a retired venture capitalist from Greylock Partners, for a $9 million pre-tax gain. At that time, the units fetched $280,000 each.

The Times Co. paid $75 million for a 17.5 percent stake in the Red Sox in 2002, the year John Henry acquired the team. Since then, the team has won two World Series titles and the value of the Red Sox and related properties has risen.

In addition to the baseball team, Fenway Sports owns the Liverpool Football Club, an English soccer team; about 80 percent of regional cable channel the New England Sports Network; and 50 percent of Roush Fenway Racing, a NASCAR team.

With yesterday’s deal, the Times Co. said it expects to recognize a pre-tax gain of approximately $64 million on the sales, which it will report in the third quarter.

The Times Co. still hopes to sell the rest of its holdings in Fenway Sports.

Beth Healy can be reached at

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