(USA Today) -- He grew up on a soybean farm, made millions predicting their future and owns a championship baseball team and global soccer squad.
Now, billionaire John Henry wades into yet another competitive arena as the recently announced majority owner of The Boston Globe and affiliated online sites.
It's the first media venture for the 63-year-old executive who built a fortune atop a successful hedge fund that traded in commodities. Forbes.com estimated Henry's wealth last year at $1.5 billion.
Henry's purchase of the Globe for $70 million, a fraction of the $1.1 billion the New York Times Co., paid for the daily in 1993, is the latest headline-grabber in the life of the sports-loving billionaire equally described as tough negotiator, impulsive leader and gentle manager.
"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 in a statement published by the Globe.
Henry, who also owns the MLB team Boston Red Sox as well as the English Premier League soccer club Liverpool F.C. and co-owner of Roush Fenway Racing, said he would reveal details about his plans for the Globe in the next few days.
Born in Quincy, Ill., Henry grew up a St. Louis Cardinals fan and later took over his father's 1,000-acre soybean farm in Forrest City, Ark. He once played bass for a progressive rock band and delved into the theories of Indian philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti and Carl Jung, according to Feeding the Monster, a book on the rise of the Red Sox by Seth Mnookin.
By the late 1970s, Henry had shed his rock aspirations and was studying commodity trends. In 1981, at age 31, he opened John W. Henry & Co. and began offering services to other firms.
Asked about his life influences in a 2011 interview with ESPN Magazine, Henry quoted mythologist Joseph Campbell: " 'If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you ...' That's what led me into the financial world. I started John W. Henry & Co. because I enjoyed applying mathematics to markets, and it was a profound challenge that resonated within me."
After amassing his fortune, Henry zeroed in on his other love: baseball. He first bought the Florida Marlins then sold the team and, in 2002, became majority owner of the Boston Red Sox. He was at its helm when the storied ball club broke the fabled "Bambino curse," leading the team to win not one but two championships.
But as his teams collected trophies, his hedge fund slumped. His investment firm's assets shrank from $2.5 billion in 2006 to less than $100 million last year, according to TheWall Street Journal. In November, the company announced it would stop managing outside money.
How Henry juggles the on-the-field success of the Red Sox with management of the Globe writers who cover the team is already sparking questions. But those who know him say Henry's management style is equal parts quiet consensus builder and detail-oriented manager, with e-mail blasts coming from the owner past midnight and through the early-morning hours. He also, often, gets what he wants.
"He's tenacious,'' Mike Dee, a former Red Sox chief operating officer, said in a 2011 Boston Globe profile of Henry. "His quiet nature would sometimes confuse people. When he truly wants to get something done, he'll put his mind to it and find a way to get it done. It's not an accident that he's in the position and the role he's in.''
Contributing: The Associated Press