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Sox Beat Yanks: Billion-Dollar Underdogs Were a Smart Investment

Boston Red SoxFrom Brett Arends, MarketWatch.com:

The Boston Red Sox may have beaten the New York Yankees to the punch to become the first billion-dollar baseball club in history.

The remarkable valuation was apparently placed on the Sox — and their cable arm, New England Sports Network — in a transaction earlier this year. We learned financial terms last week.

The New York Times Co., a minority owner in the Sox, reported Thursday that it had booked a $9.1 million gain selling shares to Boston-based venture capitalist Henry McCance earlier this year.

It released no other financial terms, and declined to comment for this column.

However we know that the Times made the profit selling 50 of its 750 units in New England Sports Ventures, parent company of the Sox and their cable TV channel.

We also know that the Times paid $5 million for those 50 units eight years ago, when it paid $75 million for 750 units.

A $9.1 million profit on a $5 million purchase implies a $14.1 million sale. The shares sold amounted to 1.2% of the Sox. By that math, the total value of the club would be $1.2 billion.

The numbers haven’t been confirmed. Times spokeswoman Abbe Serphos refused to comment. So did McCance, through his venture capital firm Greylock Partners.

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