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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Boston Red Sox majority owner John Henry has agreed to sell a roughly 11% stake in the team's parent company to RedBird Capital Partners, Axios has confirmed with a source close to the situation. Separately, LeBron James has acquired around a 1% stake in the club, although without investing any new money.

Why it matters: It's a massive return on investment for Henry, who in 2001 paid what was then a record $700 million for the Red Sox. This deal values its parent company, Fenway Sports Group, at around $7.3 billion.

Why it matters to Red Sox fans: Because there's a certain amount of sacrilege at play.

  • RedBird is led by Gerry Cardinale, who made his name as the Goldman Sachs banker who helped the New York Yankees create the country's largest regional sports network (YES Network).
  • James grew up as a Yankees fan, and is known to sport the team's iconic cap. He had previously acquired around a small ownership stake in soccer club Liverpool FC, which is part of the Fenway Sports Group portfolio, and now is using the Redbird-led restructuring to convert that stake into the 1% piece of FSG.

Background: RedBird originally was in talks to buy between 2o-25% of FSG via a SPAC, which included the involvement of longtime baseball exec Billy Beane. But that deal didn't come together, due to difficulties in obtaining outside financing at a valuation asking price of around $8 billion.

  • The LeBron James investment was first reported by The Boston Globe.
  • RedBird's investment requires Major League Baseball approval.

In addition to the Red Sox and Liverpool, Fenway Sports Group also includes a NASCAR team and regional sports network that airs Red Sox and Boston Bruins games.

RedBird, the Red Sox and a representative for James all declined comment.

Go deeper

Elise Stefanik elected No. 3 House Republican after Liz Cheney ouster

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) on May 12. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

House Republicans voted 134-46 in a secret ballot Friday to appoint Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) as the chair of the GOP conference, replacing Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.).

Why it matters: Stefanik's appointment underscores how important loyalty to former President Trump remains to the Republican Party.

Retail sales flat in April after huge surge in March

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

April retail sales in the U.S. were unchanged from March, which saw a surge revised up to 10.7%, according to the latest Commerce Department report published Friday.

Why it matters: The U.S. has been entering a period of growing optimism in the wake of the vaccine rollout, falling new COVID-19 cases and deaths, and a slowly recovering labor market. Retail sales were up 51% year-over-year compared to April 2020.

Policy group lays groundwork for "net negative" emissions tech

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A new policy roadmap provides Congress and the White House with ways to support the growth of methods to pull carbon dioxide from the atmosphere using everything from existing forests to direct air capture machines.

Driving the news: Recent climate studies, such as the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's 1.5-degree report, have pointed to the clear need for society to pursue strategies for driving carbon emissions into negative territory by the latter half of the century.