“I am delighted to have reached an agreement with the Wilpon and Katz families to purchase the New York Mets,” Cohen said in a statement released by the team.
The next hurdles for Cohen are reviewed by an ownership subcommittee who will then recommend the larger group to accept Cohen into their club. A vote of all owners should take place before November; Cohen would need 23 yeses to succeed Fred Wilpon, Jeff Wilpon and Saul Katz as majority owner of the Mets.
The hedge fund billionaire is a polarizing figure and there is no certainty that he would get the necessary votes. His company has paid a fine of $ 1.8 billion for insider trading and is being sued for sex discrimination.
However, the money often wins and Cohen is worth around $ 14 billion and the record price paid – especially in the midst of a pandemic – is going to be appealing to other homeowners who know the value a franchise has to offer. impact on all others.
Cohen previously made a deal to buy 80% of the Mets, but that deal collapsed in February due to disputes, including over the contribution the Wilpons would continue to have in running the franchise.
The Mets were then put up for auction. Initially, Cohen did not bid, but returned. He grew up as a Mets fan on Long Island and his passion for the team has not diminished. It’s his white whale and he wanted to own the club.
A consortium assembled by Alex Rodriguez and his fiancee, Jennifer Lopez, has become Cohen’s strongest competitor. The last and best offer date was August 31.
According to sources, the A-Rod group demanded exclusive negotiating rights in the days leading up to August 31 or else they would give up, which they did. The sources said the company running the auction, Allen and Company, feared the A-Rod Group would make the decision public and that would prompt Cohen to cut its bid. So, the Wilpons and Cohen pivoted to Cohen and agreed to enter into exclusive negotiations with him.
The A-Rod Group has attempted to remain a viable competitor ever since. The consortium agreed it would pay $ 2.35 billion. Afterwards, the A-Rod group made it known that Lopez would be the controlling person, appealing because she would be the first Latina to own a major sports franchise in North America.
However, despite the anger the Wilpons fueled over the failure of the initial sale, they never budged and committed to making a deal with Cohen. The price was right, and so was the timing – the Wilpons and Katz want to end the sale by December 31 for tax purposes. Cohen, who was already an 8% holding sponsor, will now get 95% of the team, as long as other MLB owners vote in him.
His candidacy – because of his financial means – has always been the most favored by fans of the Mets, who imagined him to bring the club’s payroll to Yankee ranges… or beyond.
Now it’s up to the other owners to see if that’s what Cohen would do with the team.