Now it’s up to 29 other Major League owners to decide whether Steve Cohen will be the next owner of the Mets.
Cohen and Will Pons agreed to sell the team on Monday, the Mets and hedge fund billionaire confirmed. According to sources, the price is between $2.4 billion and $2.45 billion, a record for North American sports teams. The previous mark was set when another hedge fund billionaire David Tepper acquired Panthers for $2.275 billion.
In a statement released by the team, Cohen said, “We are happy to have an agreement with the Wilpon and Katz family to purchase the New York Mets.
Cohen’s next hurdle is being reviewed by the ownership subcommittee and will recommend to a larger group whether to accept Cohen into the club. All owners’ votes are expected to come before November. Cohen needs 23 examples to succeed Fred Wilpon, Jeff Wilpon and Saul Katz as major shareholders of the Mets.
The hedge fund billionaire is a polarizing person and I am not sure he will get the votes he needs. His company is fined $1.8 billion for insider trading and is being sued for sex discrimination.
However, money often wins, and Cohen is worth roughly $14 billion, and the record price, especially plagued, will be attractive to other owners who know that the value of one franchise affects all other franchises.
Cohen had previously agreed to buy 80% of the Mets, but the deal broke in February due to a dispute involving how many inputs Wilpons would continue to hold into franchise operations.
After that, the Mets went to the auction. At first, Cohen didn’t bid, but he jumped back in. He grew up as a Mets fan on Long Island, and his passion for the team has not weakened. This is his white whale and he wanted to own the club.
The consortium of Alex Rodriguez and his fiancé Jennifer Lopez emerged as Cohen’s strongest contender. The auction had its last and best offer date on August 31st.
Sources said the A-Rod group would be eliminated if they did not request exclusive negotiation rights before August 31st. Sources were concerned that Allen and Company, the company running the auction, would move the A-Rod group to disclose the decision and Cohen to lower his bid. So, Will Pons and Cohen headed for Cohen and agreed to negotiate an exclusive deal with him.
The A-Rod group has since tried to remain a viable competitor. The consortium has agreed to pay $2.35 billion. After that, the A-Rod group announced that Lopez is growing up in control, as Lopez will be the first Latina owner of a major North American sports franchise.
However, Wilpons never flinched in closing a deal with Cohen, despite the fall of anger from the initial sale. The price was right and the timing was right. Wilpons and Katz wanted to complete the sale by December 31st for tax purposes. Cohen, a limited partner who already owned 8%, now gets 95% of the team as long as other MLB owners vote for him.
His candidacy-because of his financial fortune-was always favored by Mets fans, who always imagined he brought the club’s salary to the Yankee range or above.
Now it’s up to the other owners to see if Cohen is going to be with the team.