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New investor reportedly is ready to buy into Fenway Sports Group

The Red Sox are valued at $3.3 billion, according to Forbes magazine.
The Red Sox are valued at $3.3 billion, according to Forbes magazine.Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox

Fenway Sports Group is getting closer to getting bigger.

RedBird Capital Partners is nearing a deal to invest approximately $750 million of private capital in Fenway Sports Group, according to Sportico, a deal that would increase the value of Fenway Sports Group to more than $7 billion, with RedBird becoming a stakeholder of more than 10 percent.

Fenway Sports Group, parent company of the Red Sox, Liverpool FC, and several other interests, has been trying to attract investors over the past year in order to increase its spending power to realize its growth interests, which include acquiring another European soccer team or another North American team in the NFL, NHL, NBA, or another league.

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RedBird Capital Partners is led by investor Gerry Cardinale, who last fall, along with Oakland A’s executive Billy Beane, pursued an investment in FSG via a different public-company vehicle: a SPAC (special interest acquisition group, a blank-check company that goes public in order to make minority or controlling investments in existing private companies) called RedBall.

That quest failed, but Cardinale redirected his efforts along the private route with RedBird.

Cardinale sits on the board of Yankee Global Enterprises, the parent company of the New York Yankees, as well as the Yankees’ YES Network. RedBird purchased 85 percent of the French second-division soccer team Toulouse last July.

Fenway Sports Group, first called New England Sports Ventures, began with a $700 million investment in the Red Sox in the spring of 2002. Over nearly two decades, FSG has steadily increased its holdings, adding Liverpool Football Club of England’s Premier League and NASCAR’s Roush Fenway Racing.

Last fall, Fenway Real Estate announced plans for an ambitious mixed-use, four-parcel, five-acre development project around Fenway Park.

In its most recent valuation rankings of global sports conglomerates, Forbes ranked FSG as fourth-largest in the world, worth approximately $6.6 billion.

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Sportico said the deal is still several weeks away from closing.

Most recently, the FSG ownership pie has been divided, according to the Red Sox website, among 20 separate partners. According to sources, John Henry, the principal owner, holds an FSG stake of 40 percent, followed by chairman Tom Werner and then Michael Gordon, each holding more than 10 percent.

Henry also owns the Globe.

FSG and Red Sox CEO/president Sam Kennedy declined to comment. A RedBird spokesperson also declined to comment.


Michael Silverman can be reached at michael.silverman@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeSilvermanBB.