Mets’ Owner Sells The Team To Minority Investor Steven Cohen
By: Kenny Velez
The New York Mets owners have sold the team to Steven Cohen, a minority investor.
Mr. Cohen currently owns eight percent of the team, according to one of the people who spoke to The New York Times under the condition of anonymity.
A completed deal will be subjected to approval by the other Major League Baseball owners, and it will take five years to complete.
This is according to two people close to the negotiations, who cannot be named because they were not allowed to comment publicly. If this were to pass, then it would represent a huge shift in New York sports and a shift for a beloved franchise.
The Wilpon family has owned a stake in the Mets since 1980.
The current owner of the Mets, Fred Wilpon, and the chief officer of the Mets, his son Jeff Wilpon, will remain in their positions for the next five years. A sale would prevent a potential disagreement among Mr. Wilpon’s children, and their cousin’s control over the team.
This will allow him to keep giving away significant amounts of his fortune.
Mr. Cohen is a billionaire who made his fortune in the hedge fund business. He grew up in the Great Neck part of Long Island, several miles and a train ride away from Flushing, where the Mets play. He was also a major figure in New York society and the art world, owning an impressive art collection with works by artists’ such as Gerhard Richter, Jeff Koons, and Roy Lichenstein.
Then after 2009, his funds became embroiled in a series of investigations for insider trading. He was never charged with anything, but his firm paid nearly $2 billion in fines and he made a deal to not manage outside money for two years.
In the 1990’s and the 2000’s, Mr. Cohen was one of Wall Street’s richest and most powerful hedge fund managers. He ran a fund called S.A.C. Capital Advisors, where he was able to share in the winnings despite giving individual portfolio managers maximum control. Mr. Cohen kept these managers on short leashes, firing them if they had poor or mediocre performances.
The overall returns of S.A.C. were exceptionally strong year after year.
Mr. Cohen previously tried to buy the Mets in the days where the Wilpons were vulnerable because of their role in Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. In addition to being the minority investor of the New York Mets, Mr. Cohen pursued a purchase of the Los Angeles Dodgers. He bought his stake in the Mets after an announced $200 million sale of a stake in the team to hedge fund manager David Einhorn collapsed.
He rarely speaks publicly, and most of his character is known through court papers. He is a father of seven, and he rules his multimillionaire-dollar hedge fund from a workstation in Connecticut.
The Mets have been playing in Citi Field since 2009, and under Mr. Wilpon’s ownership, they have one championship which they’ve won in 1986. Since then, they have been to the World Series in 2000 and 2015, losing both times.
The Wilpons have been criticized for not spending enough to lure top players to the team. The Mets were ranked 12th in total payroll in the major leagues in 2019. The franchise has lost millions of dollars over the past few years due to struggling to attract fans to Citi Field.
The Mets fired manager Mickey Callaway after two seasons on October 3rd, and hired Carlos Beltran as their new manager on November 1st.
Many Mets fans are satisfied that the Wilpons are finally selling the Mets. Hopefully, Cohen’s run as owner does not continue the pattern of the Mets not spending enough money to bring the best players to Queens.