How John Henry ended up buying the Globe for nothing
By selling some assets, billionaire got what he wanted at no cost
IT TOOK A LITTLE LONGER than he planned, but John Henry managed to purchase the Boston Globe and a new printing facility in Taunton for nothing.
Henry, a billionaire who also owns the Boston Red Sox and the Liverpool Football Club, started the ball rolling in October 2013, paying The New York Times Co. $70 million for the Globe and its printing facility in Boston, the Telegram & Gazette in Worcester and its printing facility in Millbury, and a 49 percent stake in the Metro commuter newspaper in Boston.
In May 2014, Henry sold the Telegram & Gazette for a reported $17.5 million. And then on December 20, 2017, after two earlier failed attempts in 2015 and 2017, he sold the Globe’s headquarters in Dorchester for $81 million. Together, the sale of the Telegram & Gazette and the Morrissey Boulevard property netted him a total of $98.5 million.
Henry had to spend $20.3 million acquiring the printing facility in Taunton, but overall he got what he wanted (the Globe and a new printing facility) at no cost on a net basis. Indeed, he came out $8.2 million ahead, and still owns the Millbury printing plant, which has an assessed value of $7.6 million, and the 49 percent stake in the Boston Metro.
Even more surprising, the Times sold to Henry even though other bidders were ready to pay more — as much as $40 million more. The Globe reported that Henry may have won the bidding because he was paying in cash and didn’t have a lot of partners. Others suggested Henry was given a hometown discount, perhaps because the Times was one of Henry’s original partners in purchasing the Red Sox, and made out quite well in that transaction. The company invested $75 million for a 17.75 percent stake in the club in 2002. Eight years later the Times began selling its shares, recouping more than $210 million in all for a pretax gain of nearly $129 million.