The New York Times Co. has sold The Boston Globe to Boston Red Sox owner John W. Henry for $70 million. The deal marks a big step in the Times Co.’s sale of its noncore assets to focus on its eponymous New York Times brand. It also underscores the deep drop in value that newspapers have seen since the Times Co. bought the Globe for $1.1 billion in 1993, a high water mark for newspaper prices.
Along with the rest of the U.S. newspaper industry, the Globe has suffered declining advertising and circulation in recent years. Nonetheless, the Globe is still considered a plum newspaper property, having had some success getting paying online subscribers, and its sale attracted widespread interest from other would-be buyers, including a group led by ex-Time Inc. CEO Jack Griffin that included the Globe’s former owners and the owner of the U-T San Diego.
With the sale to Henry, the Globe returns to local ownership. Henry has no newspaper ownership experience, but perhaps more important, given the state of the medium, he has strong business credentials, having made his money in investment and building a sports empire.
Boston.com described Henry as "personally shy" but with a history of making "bold bets." Henry cited the importance of the paper's journalism but hasn't said much about his plans yet.
In addition to the Globe, the sale includes BostonGlobe.com, Boston.com, The Worcester Telegram & Gazette, Telegram.com, direct mail company Globe Direct, and a stake in free paper Metro Boston.