The New York Mets are about to have a new owner.
Billionaire Steve Cohen has finished negotiations with Sterling Partners to increase his investment in the team by 80 percent, or $2.6 billion, according to Bloomberg.
Sterling Partners includes the team’s father-and-son chairman and COO team, Fred and Jeff Wilpon, but both of them aren’t leaving Citi Field for a while. The deal allows them to remain in place with the organization for the next five years, with Fred Wilpon remaining “control person” and CEO, and Jeff Wilpon on board as chief operating officer.
“Steve Cohen will continue as CEO and president of Point72 Asset Management and his stake in the Mets will continue to be managed by his family office, Cohen Private Ventures,” a statement from the Mets said.
This indicates a shift for billionaire Cohen from minority owner to majority.
Neither Mark Herr from Cohen Private Ventures nor Harold Kaufman from Sterling Partners would expand on any details beyond the joint statement issued.
Fred Wilpon and his real estate investment company, Sterling Equities, partnered with Nelson Doubleday of Doubleday Publishing in 1980 to purchase the Mets from the Payson family, the team’s original owners, for a then-record price of $21 million. With changes in management and a roster revamp, the Mets captured their second World Championship in 1986.
The partnership remained in place until 2002, when Sterling Equities bought out Doubleday’s stake and became the franchise’s sole owner. Over the next decade, while there weren’t many wins to be had for the Mets, Sterling Equities developed Citi Field, which replaced Shea Stadium as the Mets’ home field in 2009, and helped form the team’s owner broadcasting network, SportsNet New York.
In 2008, the Wilpons became mired in the Bernie Madoff investment scandal, and were sued by a group of investors. The lawsuit was eventually settled for $162 million, though fans questioned the long-lasting financial impact it had on the team.
Cohen was one of several investors who purchased a minority stake in the Mets from the Wilpons in the wake of the scandal.
With reporting from Robert Pozarycki