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Red Sox Owner Enters $70M Deal for Boston Globe

globeBOSTON (AP) — The New York Times Co. says it has agreed to sell The Boston Globe to the principal owner of the Boston Red Sox for $70 million, a massive drop from the record $1.1 billion it paid for it.

Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy confirms the sale of the Globe and other media properties to businessman John Henry.

The Times bought the Globe in 1993. Newspapers have faced difficulties in recent years as advertisers have moved more ads online.

The Times announced in February it was putting the Globe up for sale. The company’s CEO said at the time selling the Globe would help the company focus attention on The New York Times brand.

Henry says the Globe’s “award-winning journalism” and “its rich history and tradition of excellence” have established it as one of the most well-respected media companies in the country.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

Businessman John Henry, the principal owner of the Boston Red Sox, has entered into an agreement to buy The Boston Globe.

The impending purchase marks Henry’s “first foray into the financially unsettled world of the news media,” the Globe said early Saturday. The deal will give Henry the 141-year-old newspaper, its websites and affiliated companies, it said.

The New York Times Co. announced in February it was putting the Globe and related assets up for sale four years after calling off a previous attempt to sell it. The company’s CEO said at the time selling the Globe would help the company focus attention on The New York Times brand.

Henry, in a statement published by the Globe, cited the “essential role that its journalists and employees play in Boston, throughout New England, and beyond.”

“The Boston Globe’s award-winning journalism as well as its rich history and tradition of excellence have established it as one of the most well respected media companies in the country,” Henry said.

Henry said he would reveal details about his plans for the Globe in the next few days.

Along with the Globe, the Times planned to sell the Worcester Telegram & Gazette; the publications’ related websites; the Globe’s direct mail marketing company, GlobeDirect; and a 49 percent interest in Metro Boston, a free daily newspaper for commuters.

The Times bought the Globe in 1993 for $1.1 billion from the family of former Globe executive Stephen Taylor. The newspaper has faced difficulties in recent years as advertisers cut spending on newspapers and moved more ads online. Still, the Globe is a journalistic institution in New England and was lauded for its coverage of the April bombings at the Boston Marathon.

A round of cost-cutting in 2009, which involved pay cuts, helped put the newspaper on better financial footing and prompted the Times to call off a planned sale. In late 2011, the Globe started charging for access to its online version at BostonGlobe.com, which helped to boost circulation revenues.

The Times company doesn’t separate Globe revenue from New York Times revenue in its financial statements. But the Globe had an average weekday circulation of 230,351 in the six months through September, up 12 percent from a year ago, according to the Alliance for Audited Media. The newspaper’s increase in digital subscriptions more than offset declines in print. But the total is still down significantly from the nearly 413,000 it boasted in September 2002.

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