Steve Cohen Agrees to Buy Mets in Deal Reportedly Worth Record $2.4B

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistSeptember 14, 2020

The apple in center field at CitiField, home of the New York Mets, is up before the start of a baseball game between the New York Mets and the Chicago Cubs, Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2019, in New York. The apple pops up every time a Metss' player hits a home run. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Kathy Willens/Associated Press

Steve Cohen reached an agreement to purchase the New York Mets from majority owner Fred Wilpon and his family, pending approval from Major League Baseball, the team announced Monday:

MLB Network's Jon Heyman first reported the news. Tim Healey of Newsday noted Cohen will own 95 percent of the franchise, with the deal valuing the club at approximately $2.475 billion.

Joel Sherman of the New York Post added the $2.4 billion sale would set a record for North American sports:

In February, the Wilpon family and Cohen, a billionaire hedge fund manager, were on the verge of a sale that would have valued the team at $2.6 billion but it fell through because of the sides' inability to agree on the Wilpons' continued involvement in the franchise after the sale, per ESPN.

The report noted Cohen, a Mets limited partner, would have become the club's controlling owner with an 80 percent stake if the transaction had become official.

"I'm very disappointed we couldn't work out a deal, but as an eight percent holder I'm looking forward to a higher bid for the team," Cohen said in a statement at the time. "I gave it my best shot."

Questions were raised about whether the MLB organization would still seek a sale amid the coronavirus pandemic, which caused concerns about the amount the team could command in difficult financial times.

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The Mets pushed forward with the sale process and other groups emerged as potential buyers, including one that featured former MLB superstar Alex Rodriguez and his wife, singer and actress Jennifer Lopez.

When Rodriguez and Lopez fell out of favor in the bidding process, it brought Cohen, who Forbes estimates has a $14.6 billion net worth, back to the forefront of talks.

He'll take over the Mets as one of the richest owners in all of sports, and he'll be expected to inject some of that capital in turning the club back into a championship contender.

New York has just two World Series titles in its 58-year history with the most recent championship coming in 1986. The other was in 1969. The club last reached MLB's championship series in 2015 but fell in five games to the Kansas City Royals.

The deal will become final once ratified by at least 23 of the league's 30 owners. Per Heyman, the vote will take place in November.