In the oddest of twists, the New York Times Co. (NYSE: NYT) is on the verge of being part owner of a major UK football club. The publisher still holds nearly 17 percent of New England Sports Ventures, LLC — owner of baseball’s Boston Red Sox and the likely next owner of Liverpool Football Cub. NESV and Liverpool announced a deal today for the Boston sports group to acquire the troubled Premier League football (as in soccer) team from controversial U.S. owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett. The sale has to be approved by the league and various legal matters have to settled before it can be finalized.
The sports company also owns Fenway Park, 80 percent of the New England Sports Network, and a stake in Nascar’s Roush team.
The NYT started formal efforts to sell its stake last year and sold 1.2 percent in April. From this side of the pond, it’s hard to see how acquiring a team deep in debt, despite its passionate fan base, will make it any easier for the NYT to sell the rest of its stake in NESV. Maybe they can sell some units to Liverpool fans.