(Bloomberg) -- Hedge fund billionaire Steve Cohen is ending talks to buy the New York Mets, the New York Post reported, walking away from a deal that some fans had hoped would give new life to the long-suffering franchise.
Cohen was in advanced negotiations to buy 80% of the Major League Baseball team at a league-record valuation of $2.6 billion. The deal fell through because the current Mets owners changed the terms at a late stage, the newspaper said, citing people with knowledge of the matter.
“The parties are subject to confidentiality obligations, including a mutual non-disclosure agreement, and therefore cannot comment,” the Mets owners said Tuesday in a statement.
Bloomberg News reported in December that the two sides were close to a deal for Cohen take over the team after a five-year period. Fred Wilpon, the team’s principal owner, was selling as part of estate and philanthropic planning, people with knowledge of the matter said at the time. The Wilpons planned to keep a stake in the franchise they took over in 2002 at a valuation of $391 million.
Cohen, whose net worth is $9.2 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, is the owner of Point72 Asset Management. 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.
If the talks have collapsed, it will be a blow to Mets fans who were hoping new ownership would infuse the team with more money to acquire free agents. The team payroll this season was $160 million, 10th in MLB.
Cohen is a minority investor in the team.
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