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Mets sale to billionaire Steve Cohen close to collapse: Report

Thomas Barrabi

Hedge fund billionaire Steve Cohen’s bid to acquire majority ownership of the New York Mets is in danger of collapse, according to a report Tuesday.

The Mets said in December that Cohen was in advanced talks with Sterling Partners, the investment firm of current team owners Fred and Jeff Wilpon, to buy an 80 percent stake in the franchise. The deal purportedly valued the Mets at $2.6 billion.

However, Cohen is ending negotiations to buy the team, the New York Post reported, citing sources familiar with the matter. The Wall Street titan is said to be “deeply unhappy” with a last-minute bid by the Wilpon to alter terms of the sale. The initial agreement is “on life support – if alive at all,” according to the Post.

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“The parties are subject to confidentiality obligations, including a mutual non-disclosure agreement, and therefore cannot comment,” the Mets said in a statement.

It’s unclear if Cohen and current Mets ownership have broken off talks for good or if a reconciliation is possible. Cohen has yet to address the situation.

The initial agreement between Cohen and Mets ownership called for the Wilpons to retain operational control of the franchise for a five-year term. Fred Wilpon would serve as Mets CEO and Jeff Wilpon as chief operating officer during that timeframe. At that point, the Wilpons would have ceded control to Cohen.

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Cohen has a personal net worth of $13 billion, according to Forbes. He would be baseball’s wealthiest team owner if the deal were to proceed.

The deal’s collapse would mark another setback for the Mets this offseason. The team fired manager Carlos Beltran in January just months after he was hired when he was linked to the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal. Beltran, a former Mets centerfielder, played on the Astros in 2017.

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