Friday, December 26, 2008
The Times and the Sox
In a world where ownership doesn't always follow logic, the New York Times owns a substantial stake in the Boston Red Sox and now, with the bottom falling out of daily newspapers, The Times may be looking to sell. The Times also owns the Boston Globe and one of the intriguing possibilities for this unloading of non-core assets would be the sale of the Sox and Globe to the same person, setting up a gigantic conflict of interest (as in the Chicago Tribune owning the Cubs).
The Wall Street Journal tells us that The Times' ownership share in the Red Sox is about $166 million (that's 17.6 percent ownership of the Sox' parent, New England Sports Ventures) and that the Globe has recently been valued at $20 million (two years ago when Jack Welch was interested, its value was placed at $550-$600 million). Apparently, The Times wants $300 million. It paid $75 million as part of the group buying The Sox holding company in 2002 (total cost $700 million).
While this wouldn't have mattered much in our our little piece of heaven before this year, we're now in the middle of it. The Red Sox is the new farmer for our little Class A farm team in the Carolina League, the Salem Red Sox. The conservative locals, I'm sure, had no idea The New York Times had a stake in their baseball team. Conway Twitty once owned the Salem baseball team and that was OK. But The New York Freakin' Times?!?