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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

Stock buybacks boom as corporate cash piles grow

The Delta variant is keeping more companies cautious about how to invest the mountains of cash they have at their disposal. That hesitancy has led, in part, to corporate spending on stock buybacks outpacing capital expenditures this year. 

Why it matters: Companies hoarded cash and raised prices over the past year — leaving them with a lot of money and decisions about what to do with it.

3 hours ago - Health

Health policies at stake in Democrats' infrastructure bet

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Democrats are at a pivotal moment in their quest to expand health care coverage, slash the cost of prescription drugs and create a social structure that prioritizes people's health.

Driving the news: Democrats have a clear list of health care priorities they'll be fighting for this week. Among them is a measure to expand Medicare to cover dental, vision and hearing benefits.

China's crypto throwdown

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

China's latest move to ban cryptocurrency shows how tough it will be for the technology to deliver on its backers' vision of disruptive, decentralized change.

The big picture: Control of the currency is a foundation of sovereignty, and governments don't plan on losing that control even as money inevitably turns digital.