LeBron James and RedBird are buying stakes in the Boston Red Sox, report says

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  • RedBird Capital Partners will own 11% of the baseball team, LeBron James will control 1%, Axios said.
  • The deal signals a major return on investment for Red Sox majority owner John Henry.
  • It follows RedBird’s failed deal to acquire stakes in the Red Sox parent company, Fenway Sports Group.
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LeBron James and private equity firm RedBird Capital Partners are set to purchase stakes in the Boston Red Sox totalling 12%, according to a report by Axios. Majority owner John Henry has agreed to sell around 11% to RedBird and 1% to James.

Henry had purchased his stakes in the Red Sox at a record price in 2001 and has now secured a major return on investment in the deal, which values the baseball team’s parent company, Fenway Sports Group, at $7.3 billion.

RedBird’s purchase means new investment for the Fenway Sports Group, which owns a portfolio of US and international sports teams, as well as regional sports networks. James’s investment is part of a restructuring effort as he shifts his stakes in the Fenway Sports Group from Liverpool Football Club to the Red Sox, states Axios.

Both RedBird and James have historically supported the New York Yankees baseball team, who are close rivals of the Red Sox. The deal may therefore be a sensitive point for Sox fans.

RedBird previously tried to purchase 20-25% of the Fenway Sports Group through a SPAC. Special purpose acquisition companies are a recent investment trend that involve setting up publicly listed shell corporations solely to acquire a private company that is then taken public following a merger between the two.

RedBird’s failure to secure outside financing scuppered the deal in January. Billy Beane had tried to take the Red Sox public by setting up the Red Ball Acquisition SPAC and secured $575 million, but the process fell apart when he couldn’t raise enough cash.

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