NYT Ditches the Red Sox

Offloading shares proves difficult

The New York Times Co. is struggling to offload its shares in the Boston Red Sox. Three buyers snatched up a portion of the shares for $117 million in cash, but there is still a large chunk—almost half of the total shares that were up for grabs—that the NYT can’t seem to shake.

The shares of Fenway Sports Group that are on the block would be any sports fanatic's dream acquisition. The portfolio includes the Red Sox and Fenway Park itself, the English Premier League’s Liverpool Football Club, a majority stake in the New England Sports Network, and 50 percent of Nascar’s Roush Fenway Racing. But thus far, no takers.

The NYT invested $80 million to assume the second-largest equity owner position in 2002. The hope was that the purchase would bolster the ailing Boston Globe. Goldman Sachs confirmed two years ago that the company might be able to get $200 million for its stake in the Fenway Sports Group, but some say the combination of the shares’ large size and investors’ inability to influence operational decisions may ultimately be the sale’s downfall.