PROSPECTIVE Liverpool owner John W Henry knows what it takes to revive the dwindling fortunes of a world famous sporting name, having done as much with Boston Red Sox.
Henry, 61, and his holding company New England Sports Ventures took control of the baseball franchise in 2002 and by 2004 had ended their 84-year wait to recapture the World Series. Since then they have repeated the feat, in 2007, re-establishing the team’s reputation as one of the pre-eminent forces in the game.
Unsurprisingly, those achievements have made Henry and NESV one of the most popular regimes in the Major League Baseball. Last year Sports Illustrated magazine named them the best of the 30 MLB owners. Liverpool owner Tom Hicks, who owns the Texas Rangers, was 29th.
Henry has toyed with the idea of moving the Red Sox away from their iconic home, Fenway Park, but has ultimately resisted the temptation to transfer the team to a more modern stadium. Similar decisions face the Anfield hierarchy, with work on a proposed new ground at Stanley Park currently on ice.
A self-made multi-millionaire, Henry amassed his fortune in hedge funds and was estimated to be worth £540m four years ago. That is thought to have been hit by the downturn but NESV is valued at nearly £1bn.
He was born in Arkansas, where he grew up on a farm before taking over the family business aged 25. He now lives in Florida but returns to Boston during the baseball season.
Henry’s sporting interests spreads to NASCAR; he bought a 50 per cent stake in Roush Fenway Racing in 2007.
Henry is joined in NESV by 16 other individuals, with close ally Tom Werner, 60, a friend of ex-US president Bill Clinton and the current Red Sox chairman, chief among them.
THE Liverpool board is being advised on the sale of the club by Barclays Capital. Co-head of European M&A Mark Warham is heading up the search for a buyer and is believed to be advising the club on the proposed takeover by New England Sports Ventures (NESV).
Warham left Morgan Stanley last year to take up the post. The BarCap team has recently worked advising BHP on their hostile bid for Potash.
The market was yesterday speculating Bob Diamond could have been involved in putting Red Sox owner John Henry in touch with Liverpool.
The BarCap boss is a massive Red Sox fan and a close friend of former banker Henry.
Representing NESV is New York-based sports consultancy firm Inner Circle. According to its website, the firm advised Liverpool on its refinancing and stadium financing in 2007 and 2008.
They have also been a part of deals involving Setanta Sports, Real Madrid and Sunderland Football Clubs.
Nigel Boardman is the legal adviser to Liverpool. The partner at Slaughter and May specialises in corporate deals.
He was involved in FirstGroup’s disposal of GB Railfreight in June and advised Asda on an agreement with Dansk Supermarked to buy its wholly owned subsidiary Netto Foodstores.