By Zac Cornell
Billionaire Hedge fund manager Steve Cohen has begun exclusive negotiations to purchase the New York Mets. Cohen was originally bidding for the Mets against a group led by A-Rod and Jennifer Lopez; however, A-Rod announced Friday the group is no longer pursuing the team.
Cohen was in deep conversations to purchase the Mets back in February before talks died down due to disagreements about team control. The Wilpons had agreed to sell the team for $2.6 billion – which would have been a record baseball transaction. One of the issues was the Wilpons attempt to retain control of SNY, the team’s television network. However, they are now willing to give up their rights.
Cohen’s reported net worth of $14.1 billion is far greater than the current wealthiest owner, Ted Lerner ($4.8 billion). The Mets current owner, Fred Wilpon, has a net worth of $500 million (second lowest in MLB). Mets fans hope that Cohen’s deep pockets translate into more money spent on top players for the team.
There is no finalized contract yet; however, we expect to see one in the next couple days or weeks. Once the deal is complete, Cohen must receive approval from 23 out of 30 league owners. Some concerns about Cohen that have been raised are his ability to vastly outspend other teams for top talent and previous scandals associated with his hedge fund SAC. Although many owners have expressed concerns, I do not see them blocking him from the league.
The reason this is so important and exciting for Mets fans is because there is no salary cap in baseball. Although there is a tax after a certain budget/price is reached, Cohen is an owner who is willing to pay the tax in order to make the Mets a top team. Steve Cohen is a die hard Mets fan that is committed to see the team succeed.