Steve Cohen Buys Mets!!! That is a phrase many Met fans have been longing to hear. Hedge fund billionaire Steve Cohen has agreed to acquire a majority stake in the New York Mets. Cohen who was a minority owner of the team has agreed to terms with the Wilpon family’s Sterling Equities group after a failed first negotiation months ago. The Wilpon family has been the majority owners of the Mets since 2002 and will retain a five percent share of the team.
Heard the #Mets sold for more than the $2.35B that has been reported. It is for between $2.4B and $2.45B. The previous record for a North American sports team was the $2.275B that the Panthers were sold for to another hedge fund billionaire, David Tepper.
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) September 14, 2020
Steve Cohen is a native New Yorker who’s worth is estimated at between 13 to 15 billion dollars. Cohen graduated from the Wharton School of Business in 1978 with a degree in Economics. He is currently an eight percent minority owner of the Mets who’s first attempt at buying the team was stalled due to an alleged spat with Jeff Wilpon. As the story goes the sale went bad due to the ownership of SNY and Jeff Wilpon’s role in the team going forward.
The second attempt has been much smoother despite a serious threat by the J-ROD group led by former player Alex Rodriguez and his future wife Jennifer Lopez. The reported price that Cohen is paying is 2.45 billion dollars which would be a North American record. David Tepper has the previous record when he bought the NFL’s Carolina Panthers for 2.275 billion dollars.
Once this sale is approved by the other owners, Steve Cohen will own 95 percent of the New York Mets. This price also is allegedly including the debt that the Mets have which includes balloon payments to former player Bobby Bonilla. There has been no indication that the sale includes SNY. But there are more details still to be released.
Wilpon Family Legacy
Fred Wilpon’s legacy as an owner of the Mets will not be remembered as a positive one. As the chairman of Sterling Equities, he bought a one percent share in the Mets back in 1980. In 1986 majority owner Nelson Doubleday sold Doubleday and Co. to Berteissman AG which included the New York Mets. Fred Wilpon had the first right of refusal and threatened to exercise that right. Instead, the Doubleday Co sold half the team to Fred Wilpon’s Sterling Equities for 81 million dollars. In 2002 they sold it all.
In Wilpon’s time as the owner, the Mets have won only one world championship. The Mets franchise has been a complete laughing stock at times under the direction of Fred Wilpon. With the Mets living in the shadows of the New York Yankees and their enormous success as a franchise, the frustrated fanbase has been furious with the Wilpons for not spending the same money as the Yankees do.
In 2008 Fred Wilpon’s Sterling Equities was named as a victim in the famous Bernie Madoff scheme. This was the reason given by Wilpon for the team’s lack of spending. The lack of continued success has been put solely on the back of the Wilpon family. Fred Wilpon did create the SNY channel which is exclusive to the New York Mets baseball games. But still, the lack of spending on the team will never be forgiven by this rabid fan base. This is despite the Mets spending more than half of the teams in the league.
The Next Step
Steve Cohen Buys Mets. The Mets faithful just love the sound of that. But this was just the first and the biggest step in the official sale. Steve Cohen still has to be approved by 23 of the 29 owners before the sale can be made final. There will be an owner’s meeting in November where the voting is expected to take place. Once that happens the ownership transfer would be immediate. Despite Cohen having an issue in the past with the 1.8 billion dollar fine for insider trading, the sale is expected to be approved. It is said that no team would get to this point without knowing that the other owners would approve of the purchase. Much to the delight of the Mets fanbase, the approval would coincide with the opening of free agency.
Met fans expect Cohen to be very active in not only keeping his own players signed such as Michael Conforto but also in the pursuit of free agents such as catcher J.T. Realmuto and potentially top starting pitchers such as Trevor Bauer. Additionally, there is also the unknown factor of the Mets front office and coaching staff such as General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen and Manager Luis Rojas. Most baseball insiders believe Rojas is connected to Van Wagenen and if he goes so does the manager.
There are certainly some unanswered questions once this sale gets approved. But for the Mets fanbase, there is excitement in the air with the Wilpon family out of the driver’s seat. Met fans expect Cohen to spend the necessary money to make the team competitive every season and to compete with the Yankees. Time will tell if Cohen is that owner the Met fans have been yearning for. Steve Cohen Buys Mets. This is a great day to be a Mets fan.
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