The 29 major league owners now have to decide whether Steve Cohen will be the next owner of the Mets.
The hedge fund billionaire reached an agreement on Monday to buy the Mets for between $ 2.4 billion and $ 2.45 billion, the highest price ever offered to a North American sports team.
“I am delighted to have reached an agreement with the Wilburn and Cuts families to buy the New York Mets,” Cohen said in a statement released by the team.
The next hurdle for Cohen is that he will have to be investigated by an ownership subcommittee who will then recommend to the larger committee whether Cohen can be accepted into their club. All owners’ votes are expected to come before November, and Cohen will be the 23rd candidate after Fred Wilpen and Saul Godz to become the fourth controlling owner since the start of ownership in 1962.
The hedge fund billionaire is a polar figure and not sure if he will get the votes he needs. Cohen’s former hedge fund, SAC Capital, was fined $ 1.8 billion in 2013. His current company is being prosecuted for gender discrimination.
However, money often wins and Cohen is worth about $ 14 billion and the registered price paid – especially in the midst of an epidemic – will attract other owners who affect one owner’s worth all the rest.
The Mets have had several conversations with co-owners, with Cohen hoping to get approval, a source close to the situation said. However, there are group officials who warn that this is not a layoff.
Cohen had previously reached an agreement to buy an 80 percent stake in Mets for $ 2.6 billion, but that deal was broken last February over controversies, including how much input and influence Wilbuns continues to have over the five-year interim period after the sale.
The Mets were then put up for auction. Initially, Cohen did not bid, but then jumped back. He grew up as a Mets fan on Long Island, and his interest in the team has not diminished – even his wife and mother-in-law are Mets fans. It was Cohen’s white whale and he wanted to own the club.
A coalition of Alex Rodriguez and his fianc மனைவிe Jennifer Lopez has emerged as a strong contender for Cohen. August 31 was the last and best offer date at the auction.
According to sources, the A-Rod group demanded exclusive negotiation rights in the days leading up to August 31 or it would be abandoned, it did. Sources said Alan & Company, the auctioneer, was concerned that the A-Rod group would make the decision public and that it would encourage Cohen to reduce his bid. Therefore, Wilbins and Gates took the lead for Cohen and agreed to engage in private negotiations with him.
The Rodriguez / Lopez team tried to be a talented competitor. The consortium agreed to pay $ 2.35 billion. Later, the A-Rod team allowed Lopez to learn that he was the controlling person because he would be the first Latin owner of a major sporting right in North America.
However, despite the anger that the Wilbuns had from the initial sale, they never got caught up in finalizing a deal with Cohen. The price was right, and the time was right – Wilfins and Gats want to do with sales by December 31 for tax purposes. Cohen, who was a limited partner who already held 8 percent, will now get 95 percent on the team until other owners vote for him.
Cohen’s current contract is hundreds of millions less than the terms he deviated from the start, a Wall Street local familiar with Cohen said, “helping to reduce the cost of the epidemic. But Wilbins underestimated him this time around and now he is going against his rules with his team. ”
Cohen’s candidacy – due to his finances – has always been well-liked by Mets fans who have imagined bringing the club’s salary to Yankee limits… or beyond.
What Cohen will actually do with the team is now up to the other owners.