The facts and figures
Time to take a look at the key figure behind new england Sports Ventures - John W. Henry - the parent company of the Boston Red Sox. Who are New England Sports Ventures? The parent company of the Boston Red Sox baseball team, its Fenway Park stadium, a nASCAR racing team and the new england Sports network TV channel.
John W. Henry, a 61-year-old billionaire who co-founded the company in 2001, remains principal owner. The publishers of The New York Times own about 16%. How much money do they have? The company is estimated to be worth about US$1.5bil (£943mil), with the majority of value lying in the Red Sox. The team, ranked the 10th most valuable brand in world sport by Forbes magazine, made about US$40mil (£25mil) profit last year. Henry’s fortune has declined slightly in recent years. After being estimated to have US$1.1bil in 2009 he did not make this year’s Forbes billionaire list. How have they made their money? Henry, the son of an Arkansas farmer, used his knowledge of crops to start betting on whether the price of things such as soya beans and corn would rise or fall.
He moved on to other commodities futures and at 32 founded John W. Henry & Co, a successful investment company based in Florida.
As well as its sports clubs, new england Sports Ventures boosts profits by selling fan photos, online advertising space for rival baseball clubs and consulting services for firms including Dunkin’ Donuts.
Why are they keen to invest in Liverpool?
Liverpool remain one of Britain’s best-supported clubs, with a huge world-wide fan base. The Premier League has an increasing following in the US.
Henry has shown he knows how to run a team with famously passionate supporters.
He could well see the potential for profits in a club which, like the Red Sox, is based in a stadium that it has outgrown and has repeatedly sought to expand or move from. He would probably also use the company’s other ventures to exploit players’ image rights. What makes them different from the current owners?
It appears unlikely that Henry’s takeover, if successful, would lumber Liverpool with as much debt as the current owners, Tom Hicks and George Gillett, did.
When new england Sports bought the Red Sox in 2002 the US$700mil (£440mil) it paid included US$40mil (£25mil) to mop up its existing debts.