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Mets bidders include 76ers, Devils ownership group: Report

Thomas Barrabi

The owners of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and the NHL’s New Jersey Devils are interested in bidding to buy MLB’s New York Mets, according to a report Monday.

Billionaires Josh Harris and David Blitzer are in the running to buy the embattled franchise, Sportico reported, citing sources familiar with the matter. Both men built their fortunes in private equity, Harris as co-founder of Apollo Global Management and Blitzer as an executive at Blackstone Group.

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Talks between the Harris and Blitzer team and the Wilpon family, the current owners of the Mets, are said to be in their early stages.

A representative for Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Harris and Blitzer led a group to purchase the 76ers for $287 million in 2011. The franchise is now worth an estimated $2 billion, according to Forbes.

The group bought the Devils for $320 million in 2013. That team is now worth an estimated $550 million.

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The Mets have been looking for a buyer since last December when billionaire Steve Cohen backed out of a deal to buy an 80 percent majority stake in the team at a $2.6 billion valuation. The deal fell apart after Cohen balked at the Wilpons’ plan to retain operational control of the Mets for a five-year period after the sale was finalized.

The Mets have retained Allen & Co. to oversee sale proceedings. The team released a statement in February regarding its efforts to sell.

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"We would like to assure our fans that we will continue our commitment to winning in 2020 and beyond and we'll work hard to earn and maintain everyone's confidence and trust," Mets owner Jeff Wilpon said at the time. "We'll be moving forward to find a new transaction. We will not be giving details or updates on the timeline or process until we are prepared to make a public announcement."

Former MLB star Alex Rodriguez and pop star Jennifer Lopez emerged as potential bidders in April. However, the New York Post reported last month that the duo had ended their effort after failing to build an adequate coalition of business partners.

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