The Mets appear to be close to finding a new owner. Steve Cohen is now engaged in exclusive negotiations to buy the club, David Faber of CNBC reports. Alex Rodriguez, who has also been vying for the team, issued a statement to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic conceding defeat.
“The consortium led by Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez has informed the Mets that they are no longer pursuing the acquisition of the team,” Rodriguez said. “The consortium, which included Vincent Viola, Mike Repole, and Marc Lore had submitted a fully funded offer at a record price for the team which was supported by binding debt commitments from JP Morgan and equity commitment letters from credit worthy partners. The consortium said that they are disappointed to not be part of the revitalization of New York City and provide an exhilarating experience for the fans and wish the Wilpon family and the entire Mets organization well.”
Cohen, the Rodriguez-Lopez team and the Josh Harris-David Blitzer duo were the finalists to land the Mets, but current owners Fred Wilpon and Jeff Wilpon selected Cohen as the favorite, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network. It’s “believed” the Rodriguez group was willing to offer as much as $2.3 billion, per Faber, but they’ll lose out to Cohen.
While Cohen hasn’t reached the finish line yet, his approximate net worth of $15 billion, long-running pursuit of the franchise and his status as a minority owner of the Mets seem to make it unlikely he’ll fall short. Cohen’s previous attempt to buy the Mets fell apart over the winter, but the Wilpons’ urgency to sell the team has reportedly increased since then, owing in part to the financial losses they’ve taken as a result of the pandemic-shortened season with no fans in the stands. Now, any new owner would lose upward of $100MM this year and in 2021, Faber reports.
Cohen’s collapsed deal with the Mets included a five-year sale plan in which he’d assume 80 percent of the reins in 2025, but he’d take over as the team’s control person immediately in this instance, Faber writes. It’s unclear what a new agreement could look like in terms of cost or whether Cohen would receive any part of the coveted SNY Network in a sale. Cohen bid $2.6 billion before, but it’s now likely he’ll land the franchise for less, according to Faber.