John W. Henry: A self-made millionaire who brought glory days back to Boston Red Sox

But Wall Street trader's personal fortune has dipped in recession

A self-made multi-millionaire, John W. Henry is described as one of the most popular and successful baseball owners in America.

As owner of the Boston Red Sox, the 61-year-old ended the once faltering franchises' 86-year wait to win the World Series, in 2004, repeated the feat in 2007 and has renovated their Fenway Park stadium every season.

The Illinois native made his fortune trading on commodities after failing to complete his studies in philosophy at the University of California. After initial gains betting on the price of crops, he founded John W. Henry & Co. hedge fund in Florida at just 32.

With an extensive array of business interests, Henry is the co-owner of the holding company that had made the offer to Liverpool, New England Sports Ventures (NESV), and has a 50 per cent stake in the NASCAR team Roush Fenway Racing and founded Motorsports Simulation.

NESV is estimated to be worth £943 million, with the majority of the company's value lying in the Red Sox. The company's portfolio also includes Fenway Sports Group, a sports marketing and managing firm, real estate surrounding Fenway Park and 80% of the New England Sports Network.

Henry is a long-term investor in baseball. He purchased a small stake in the New York Yankees in 1991 and became the sole owner of the Florida Marlins in 1999 which he sold in 2002 to be able to buy the Red Sox.

His partners in NESV include successful businessman Larry Lucchino and Tom Werner. Together, they have guided the outfit to 10th place in Forbes' recent list of the most valuable sports brands in the world and made a profit of £25m last year.

Their stewardship of the Major League Baseball team has won huge approval from fans.

Speaking to the Liverpool Daily Post, Boston Globe Red Sox reporter Peter Abraham stated: “He [Henry] is a very interesting guy. He made all his money in hedge funds.

“He purchased the Florida team the Marlins, but he swapped it for the Red Sox.

“He has been very popular in Boston.

“The Sox have the second oldest stadium in baseball and he has fixed it up better than people thought he would. He spent more than people thought he would, I would imagine probably $50m (£31m), if not more.”

Last month the club launched a 'Listening Tour' initiative to gain views from supporters of how to create further improvements to their beloved Red Sox.

Henry's personal wealth has, however, taken a hit during the global recession. After this was estimated at $1.1 billion (£691m) in 2009, he failed to make this year's Forbes rich list which documents the world's billionaires.

Both Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal further reported financial difficulties in JWH & Co. in 2007. In the previous December, Boston Magazine reported losses of $300m (£188m) for that month alone.

Currently, the investment firm is believed to handle $270m (£169m) worth of assets.

Henry married Linda Pizzuti in June 2009, with the pair announcing in April they are expecting their first child together. He also has an older daughter from a previous marriage.

He lives in Boston for the majority of the year and heads off to a $6.5m (£4m) Florida estate in the off-season. There his 164 foot yacht is docked where guests are handed a pair of red socks when they remove their shoes.

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