Steve Cohen agrees to purchase Mets for reported $2.4B fee

Tanya Simon
September 15, 2020

According to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, hedge fund billionaire Steve Cohen has reached a deal with the Wilpon family to purchase the Mets.

Cohen will get 95 percent of the franchise at a valuation of $2.42 billion.

Cohen would become one of the richest team owners in professional sports, with a personal net worth of more than $14 billion, according to Forbes.

The deal will require the approval of at least 23 of the other 29 team owners when Major League Baseball holds a vote, which could come at the owners' meetings in November, Newsday reported. He had tried to purchase a majority stake last November but the deal fell through.

The deal's financial terms were not disclosed. The limited partnership shares were sold after a proposed $200 million sale of a stake of the Mets to hedge fund manager David Einhorn fell through in 2011.

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Cohen edged out a competitive field of prospective buyers that included offers from a group led by former Major League Baseball superstar Alex Rodriguez and actress Jennifer Lopez as well as a group led by Harris Blitzer Sports and Entertainment, the current owners of the NBA's Philadelphia 76ers and NHL's New Jersey Devils.

Fred Wilpon and his brother-in-law, Saul Katz, purchased their first stake in the team in 1980. An on-again, off-again discussion with Cohen's group finally began to pick up steam once and for all on August 28, as both sides hoped to salvage a deal after a previous agreement to buy the team fell apart.

In 2018, Cohen's investment firm, Point72 Asset Management, was sued for discrimination against women. SAC agreed to pay a $900 million fine and forfeit another $900 million to the federal government, though $616 million that SAC companies had already agreed to pay to settle parallel actions by the Securities and Exchange Commission was to be deducted from the $1.8 billion.

When Doubleday & Co. was sold to the media company Bertelsmann AG in 1986, the publisher sold its shares of the team for almost $81 million to Fred Wilpon and Nelson Doubleday, who became 50-50 owners. He gained full ownership in 2002 when he bought out partner Nelson Doubleday's 50 percent share.

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