BOSTON — Businessman John Henry, the principal owner of the Boston Red Sox, has entered into an agreement to buy the Boston Globe for $70 million, down from its record $1.1 billion price two decades ago.
The impending purchase from the New York Times Co. marks Henry's "first foray into the financially unsettled world of the news media," the Globe said Saturday. The deal will give Henry the 141-year-old newspaper, its websites and affiliated companies, it said.
The New York Times announced in February it was putting the Globe and related assets up for sale four years after calling off a previous attempt to sell it. The company's CEO said at the time selling the Globe would help the company focus attention on the New York Times brand.
New York Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy confirmed the planned sale of the Globe and other media properties to Henry. The New York Times said the all-cash sale, expected to close in 30 to 60 days, includes BostonGlobe.com, Boston.com, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, Telegram.com, the direct mail marketing company Globe Direct, and the company's 49 percent interest in Metro Boston, a free daily newspaper for commuters.
The Globe reported June 27 that at least six groups were believed to have submitted bids for the properties. The bidders included Robert Loring, founder of Revolution Capital Group in Los Angeles, the Globe said, citing sources familiar with the bids. Revolution, a private equity firm, bought the Tampa Tribune last year for $9.5 million and in April acquired the weekly Clearwater Gazette.
Henry said in a statement, "The Boston Globe's award-winning journalism as well as its rich history and tradition of excellence have established it as one of the most well respected media companies in the country."
Henry, who also owns the English Premier League soccer club Liverpool F.C., said he would reveal details about his plans for the Globe in the next few days.
Globe editor Brian McGrory said the newspaper's Red Sox coverage and its editorial decisions won't be affected by the sale.
The New York Times bought the Globe from the family of former Globe executive Stephen Taylor in 1993 for what it said was the highest price paid for an American newspaper. The price Henry is paying is less than 7 percent of the 1993 price.
The Globe and other newspapers have faced difficulties in recent years as readers have fled to the Internet and advertisers have cut spending on newspapers and moved more ads online. Still, the Globe is a journalistic institution in New England and was lauded for its coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings in April.