Report: Steve Cohen Could Be Blocked from Buying MLB Team After Failed Mets Sale

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistFebruary 7, 2020

The New York Mets logo is displayed Citi Field before Friday's Game 3 of the Major League Baseball World Series between the Mets and the Kansas City Royals, Thursday, Oct. 29, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Peter Morgan)
Peter Morgan/Associated Press

After his failed bid to buy the New York Mets, Steve Cohen reportedly may never again receive the support needed to buy a Major League Baseball franchise. 

According to Josh Kosman and Thornton McEnery, the Mets and MLB believe Cohen acted in "bad faith" when he attempted to alter the terms of the non-binding term sheet he signed to buy the Mets several months ago.

Cohen's bid to buy the Mets from the Wilpon family officially ended Thursday, and the Mets have renewed their search for a buyer.

Per Kosman and McEnery, the term sheet Cohen signed would have allowed him to own more than half of the Mets' equity, but it also would have resulted in Fred Wilpon remaining as the organization's control person for five years.

That meant Wilpon essentially would have continued to make all the decisions despite Cohen owning the majority of the team.

Cohen reportedly attempted to change the terms of the deal when he realized what he had agreed to. One source close to Cohen told the New York Post: "Why would anyone put up $2.6 billion and not have any say in the operations of the business he was buying? That doesn't make any sense. Anyone who tells you any different isn't credible. The governance issues always had to be worked out and they just never got there."

Cohen reportedly wanted to at least be granted power gradually over the course of the five-year window and he attempted to change the payment schedule of the $2.6 billion he owed to the Wilpons as well.

One source close to the MLB owners said that even if Cohen had signed a purchase and sale agreement, there is no guarantee that the sale would have been approved given the fact that Cohen is a hedge fund manager who was "suspended from managing outside money."

According to MarketWatch.com, the 63-year-old Cohen is worth $13 billion, which suggests he should have been well-positioned to buy the franchise from a financial perspective.

Any purchase of an MLB team must be approved by the league's owners, but after the manner in which Cohen's negotiations with the Wilpons went south, it may have left a bad enough taste in the mouths of MLB owners that they won't back Cohen should he attempt to buy another team in the future.

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