(Reuters) – Boston Red Sox owner John Henry is in talks with RedBall Acquisition Corp to take his famed sports holding company Fenway Sports Group LLC public, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters late on Friday.

The deal being discussed would merge Fenway Sports Group with RedBall Acquisition Corp and will value the owner of the Liverpool Football Club at around $8 billion including debt, the source said, asking not to be identified.

The talks were reported earlier by the Wall Street Journal newspaper, which said the discussions are in the early stage and could still fall apart.

The newspaper also said RedBall, which raised $575 million in August to buy businesses in sports and sports-related media and data analytics, plans to raise an additional $1 billion to buy a stake in Fenway Sports Group that will not exceed 25%.

RedBall, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), is co-chaired by former Goldman Sachs banker Gerald Cardinale and baseball executive Billy Beane, who shot to fame with Michael Lewis’s book “Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game.”

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh and Sabahatjahan Contractor in Bengaluru; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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Boston Red Sox owner John Henry is in talks to join with an investment vehicle for an $8 billion deal that would take his famed sports holdings public, according to people familiar with the matter.

The deal being discussed would merge Fenway Sports Group LLC, which also owns English soccer team Liverpool Football Club, with

RedBall Acquisition Corp.


RBAC 0.20%

, the people said. RedBall is a so-called special purpose acquisition company launched by private-equity firm RedBird Capital Partners and Oakland Athletics executive Billy Beane.

RedBall, which raised $575 million in August to buy businesses in sports and sports-related media and data analytics, plans to raise an additional $1 billion to purchase a stake that will total less than 25% in Fenway Sports Group and value it at $8 billion including debt, some of the people said.

The talks are in the early innings and could still fall apart. Fenway’s investors had a meeting recently to discuss the potential transaction, one of the people said.

Also known as blank-check companies, SPACs effectively turn the traditional model for initial public offerings on its head by raising money before they develop a business. They use the proceeds to make an acquisition—usually within a couple of years—that converts the target into a public company.

There has been an unexpected boom this year in blank-check deal making, which has gone in and out of favor over the years, as an increasingly large stable of startups and other private companies seek a more expeditious route to the public markets and sponsors hunt for opportunities in the economic dislocation caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr. Henry, who founded investment firm Henry & Co., bought the Red Sox in 2002 and also owns the

After a Gatorade shower following an A’s 2-0 win over the Chicago White Sox last season, starting pitcher Chris Bassitt said the ‘W’ meant a little extra for him.

He had just struck out seven in just as many innings and didn’t allow a run against the team that had drafted him in 2011. And now, he will face them again on the big stage in Game 2 of the AL Wild Card Series on Wednesday. It will be an added incentive.

“It’s special for me because — it’s kind of like playing with your friends kind of thing, so I know after the game I’ll have 30 or 40 ex-teammates and coaches and stuff texting me, so it’s fun — it’s a different dynamic,” Bassitt said Tuesday. 

In 2014, Bassitt was traded from Chicago to Oakland along with catcher Josh Phegley, first baseman Rangel Ravelo and shortstop Marcus Semien for pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Michael Ynoa.

“I’m thankful for the White Sox and so many people there that kind of groomed me before I got to Oakland and obviously I’m kind of thankful for Oakland for sticking with me through all the crap that I had to go through to get to this point,” Bassitt said. “I think the word is just ‘thankful’ for it.”

Bassitt said the A’s have been thrown every curveball this season, including coronavirus delays, the brawl against the Houston Astros, racial injustice boycotts — all of it. But he explained it was after the scuffle with the Astros that he changed as a pitcher.

 

The intermittent halts allowed Bassitt to take the time to really view what he was doing as a pitcher. The extra bullpen work certainly helped, too.

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“We took full advantage of it