By 22, he was ejected from the blackjack tables in Las Vegas for counting cards. He began trading corn and soybean futures to protect his family soybean business after his father died when he was 25. Henry set up a small office in Irvine, California, in 1981 investing family money from the farm in agricultural commodities, expanding into other types of investments and eventually taking on outside clients at what would become John W. Henry & Co., which is now based in Boca Raton, Florida.
The billionaire entered Major League Baseball in 1991 by acquiring 1 percent of the Yankees. In 1999, he bought control of the Florida Marlins for $158 million.
After failing to persuade politicians to back taxes to finance a new stadium, Henry put the Marlins up for sale in 2001 and joined with Larry Lucchino, former chief executive of the Baltimore Orioles, and television producer Tom Werner to pursue the Red Sox.
They won the team with a $660 million offer to the Yawkey Trust in December 2001 and said they’d assume $40 million in debt. In 2004, the club won its first World Series championship in 86 years and added a second title three years later.
Under Henry’s ownership, the franchise had a record streak of 820 consecutive sold-out games at Fenway Park, which ended on April 11. Boston ranked 11th in Forbes Magazine’s 2013 list of the world’s 50 most valuable sports teams at $1.312 billion.
Henry is also the principal owner of Fenway Sports Group, one of the largest sports, media and entertainment companies in the world.
In 2010, FSG bought Liverpool Football Club, the 18-time English soccer champion, and its Anfield stadium. The company also owns the New England Sports Network and a 50 percent share in Roush Fenway Racing, a NASCAR racing team.