Controversial billionaire buys New York Mets
After a nine-month odyssey, Steve Cohen finally got what he wanted: a deal to acquire the New York Mets.
The billionaire reached an agreement with Sterling Partners, a firm backed by the families that own the Mets, to purchase the 58-year-old team, according to a statement Monday. Terms of the transaction, which still needs approval from Major League Baseball’s other club owners, weren’t disclosed.
“I am excited to have reached an agreement with the Wilpon and Katz families to purchase the New York Mets,” Cohen said in the statement.
Cohen, already a Mets investor, was in talks to acquire the team late last year, but the negotiations broke down by February and the owners went looking for other prospective buyers.
Mets fans have long hoped that a change in ownership would help shift the fortunes of a team in the shadow of the New York Yankees. Though the Mets have the fifth-highest payroll in the league, it’s significantly below what the Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers spend.
The 64-year-old Cohen rooted for the Mets while growing up on Long Island and attended games at the Polo Grounds, where the team started out.
Cohen, the owner of Point72 Asset Management, is worth $10.1 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. His former firm, SAC Capital Advisors, pleaded guilty to securities fraud in 2013 and paid a record fine as part of a U.S. crackdown on insider trading on Wall Street.
Cohen raised $5 billion in 2018 from outside clients when Point72, a family office, became a hedge fund, saying it was easy to raise money.
Sportico previously reported on Cohen’s Mets deal, saying it values the Mets at about $2.42 billion. That would make it the most spent on an MLB franchise, exceeding the $2.15 billion paid for the Los Angeles Dodgers and related real estate, the sports website said.
Even at the record level, the price suggests Cohen was able to bargain down the Mets owners. In the transaction discussed last year, the team was valued at US$2.6 billion, a person familiar with the matter said at the time.
Cohen previously bid on the Dodgers, but failed to strike a deal. They were bought by a group that included Guggenheim executives in 2012.