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Red Sox Curse Lingers

And at last count, half of Henry's clients were in the red, and he won't collect his 20% cut until they have erased their losses.

Twenty percent of the rest could be as little as $5 million.

It's not a lot.

Add in the management fees you're only looking at $15 million all-in.

Meanwhile, as Henry's fortunes have slumped, so have those of New York Times, parent of The Boston Globe and minority owner of the Sox.

It was The Globe's baseball columnist, Dan Shaughnessy, who first popularized the idea of the Curse of the Bambino with his 1990 book of that name.

If he wants to write a sequel, he could write about his own company.

Since Game Four -- October 27, 2004 -- The Globe has been hit by plummeting circulation and losses. The New York Times Co., which in the past paid a total of $1.4 billion to acquire The Globe and another newspaper in Massachusetts, recently wrote down their value by $814 million.

Newspaper troubles are hardly restricted to The Globe, of course. The rival Boston Herald newspaper -- where I used to work, and where I continue to write occasional local columns -- has also been hit by falling circulation.

But nonetheless, over the past two and a half years the Times -- as measured, for example, by share price -- has managed to fare worse than most comparable big newspaper companies, including Gannett (GCI - Get Report), Dow Jones (DJ) and even Tribune (TRB).

And there have been other setbacks for the Times during that time, including an astonishing, unprecedented and humiliating public row over corporate governance between the papers' controlling Sulzberger dynasty and Wall Street bank Morgan Stanley (MWD). For two years running, the Gray Lady has been embarrassed at the annual stockholders' meeting by substantial protest abstentions.

And coincidences continue.

Henry's biggest fund has lost a third of its money since the Sox won the World Series. When you include dividends, guess how much the Sulzbergers, and other New York Times shareholders, lost over the same period?

Five percent? Ten percent?


A third.

In keeping with TSC's editorial policy, Brett Arends doesn't own or short individual stocks. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. Arends takes a critical look inside mutual funds and the personal finance industry in a twice-weekly column that ranges from investment advice for the general reader to the industry's latest scoop. Prior to joining in 2006, he worked for more than two years at the Boston Herald, where he revived the paper's well-known 'On State Street' finance column and was part of a team that won two SABEW awards in 2005. He had previously written for the Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail newspapers in London, the magazine Private Eye, and for Global Agenda, the official magazine of the World Economic Summit in Davos, Switzerland. Arends has also written a book on sports 'futures' betting.
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