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The sale of the New York Mets has been something of a carousel, and it appears Steve Cohen has bought another ticket for the ride.
According to Thornton McEnery of the New York Post, the hedge-fund billionaire reportedly “will bid on the Mets this week, months after having his $2.6 billion deal for the team fell apart dramatically at the 11th hour back in February. Cohen’s re-emergence, while not totally shocking, will cause upheaval in the first-round bidding process set to end on Thursday.”
Cohen’s potential re-emergence means he will likely be bidding against several prospective ownership groups:
- Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils managing partners Josh Harris and David Blitzer.
- A group headed by former MLB star Alex Rodriguez and entertainer Jennifer Lopez.
- Los Angeles real-estate businessman Kurt Rappaport.
- David and Simon Reuben, financiers from London.
But according to McEnery’s report, Cohen has been “monitoring the Mets situation closely, fully aware that he is the only bidder who can offer the Wilpons anywhere close to the $2 billion valuation they have put on their money-losing franchise without selling their revenue-generating TV network, SNY.”
With Cohen and the Wilpons getting so close to a deal before, however, it would be fascinating if the two sides could make it work a second time around. The first deal reportedly came apart at the seams because of Cohen balking at giving Jeff Wilpon operational control of the Mets while the sides went through a five-year transitional period and then a role with the organization to follow.
But time may be on Cohen’s side, with to McEnery and Josh Kosman of the Post reporting in late June that the Wilpons are hoping to lock down a buyer by Oct. 1 and sell the team before 2021, giving a new ownership group the chance to fully take the reins before next season.
Any differences between the sides may be rendered irrelevant if the Wilpons self-impose that deadline and Cohen offers the biggest deal. You just have to love the drama.