Bruce S. Sherman, the Naples billionaire who provided the critical financing that helped Derek Jeter buy the Miami Marlins for $1.2 billion on Friday, is a newcomer to the professional sports arena who built his fortune in asset management before retiring in 2009.
Sherman, 69, is reported to be ponying up several hundred million dollars toward the purchase, while the former Yankee shortstop is contributing $25 million.
In an interview with the Naples Daily News in 2009, Sherman said he grew up in a middle-class neighborhood in Queens, New York. He was a co-founder of the Naples-based Private Capital Management (PCM), which launched in 1985 as a wealth management firm for the Collier family, longtime landowners throughout the state of Florida and one of the richest American families of that era.
The company soon expanded its roster of clients to include government agencies, colleges and universities. The firm held $4.4 billion in management assets in 1999; by 2005, the figure had grown to $31 billion.
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The success drew the attention of Legg Mason, which bought PCM in 2001 for $1.4 billion.
But a number of troubled investments dragged down the company’s fortunes, including unsuccessful bets on newspaper companies such as Knight Ridder, the New York Times Co. and Gannett.
Sherman was the activist shareholder who successfully pushed Knight Ridder’s board to sell its 32 newspapers, including The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald, to the McClatchy Co. in 2006 for a cash and stock deal worth $4.5 billion.
That sale, which some analysts believe marked the beginning of a downward spiral for the newspaper industry, earned Sherman the nickname “The Paper Shredder” in a 2007 magazine profile in Conde Nast Portfolio.
PCM also lost an estimated $478.6 million after the 2008 collapse of Bear Sterns. By the time Sherman retired a year later, the company’s assets had dwindled to $2.4 billion.
“There’s always a beginning and there’s always an end,” Sherman told the Naples Daily News about his retirement. “For me, this is a new beginning.”
“I am very proud of my investment career over 23 years, especially the first 22 years,” he told the Wall Street Journal in 2009.
In 2004, Sherman founded the non-profit Jewish Community Center of Southwest Florida in Naples, which remains active according to state public records.
Since leaving the workplace, Sherman and his wife, Cynthia, who he married in 1999, have supported various philanthropic efforts. They have been devoted benefactors of the Naples Winter Wine Festival, raising millions of dollars for the annual three-day event that benefits the Naples Children and Education Foundation.
In 2016, the couple founded the Sherman Prize, which awards cash prizes to individuals who make strides in the battle against inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. In a video on the group’s website, Sherman says his two daughters were diagnosed with Crohn’s at an early age, and his father also battled the disease. The three recipients of the 2017 prize, announced in July, specialize in research and patient care and received a total of $225,000.
Also after retiring, Sherman plunked down $69.5 million on a 210-foot yacht, something he had considered doing for nearly seven years, according to the Broward New Times.
Sherman graduated from the University of Rhode Island and received an M.B.A. degree from Baruch College.
On Friday, the New York Post reported Sherman plans to keep his Marlins ownership for the next few years before turning the team over to his children and grandchildren.