As expected, Steve Cohen has gotten the approval of at least 23 MLB owners in his bid to purchase the Mets, reports Jon Heyman of MLB Network (Twitter link). Cohen will take over 95% of the franchise from the previous ownership group, led by Fred and Jeff Wilpon, for a purchase price of around $2.475 billion.
The City of New York has also approved the sale, per Tim Healey of Newsday (Twitter link). As Healey explained yesterday, Mayor Bill de Blasio had to sign off on the deal because the municipality owns Citi Field and the associated land. Cohen will donate $17.5MM to local small businesses as part of the arrangement, he announced (via Healey).
Cohen’s group beat out a handful of competitors (most notably a Josh Harris-David Blitzer tandem and a group led by Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez) to gain exclusive negotiating rights for the franchise in August. It marked a second chance for Cohen and the Wilpons to work something out, after their efforts at a deal last offseason fell through. This time, even amidst massive economic uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the parties finalized a deal.
Today’s steps officially close the books on the sale of the franchise. Cohen, with an estimated net worth of $14.1 billion, becomes MLB’s richest owner. He and incoming baseball operations leader Sandy Alderson will have plenty of opportunities to add to the roster this winter, with most teams widely expected to act rather tepidly in the wake of pandemic-driven revenue losses.