The facts and fig­ures

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - FOOTBALL -

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.

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