Sep 15, 2020 - Sports

Steve Cohen agrees to buy Mets

Illustration of the Mets logo with a sold sticker on top.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Steve Cohen, a hedge fund billionaire from Long Island, has reached an agreement to buy the Mets.

Details: Cohen will own 95% of the team, with the Wilpon and Katz families retaining the other 5%. The sale values the Mets at $2.42 billion, per Sportico, making it the most ever paid for an MLB franchise, topping the $2.15 billion paid for the Dodgers and surrounding real estate in 2012.

  • The deal still requires approval from 23 of the other 29 MLB owners, who will likely vote at their regularly-scheduled meeting in November.

Why it matters: Cohen has a net worth of $14.5 billion, which would make him the second-richest owner in American sports behind Steve Ballmer ($69 billion).

  • It would also make him wealthier than the next three richest MLB owners, combined: Ted Lerner, Nationals ($4.8 billion); Charles Johnson, Giants ($4.3 billion) and Marian Ilitch, Tigers ($4 billion), per Forbes.
  • Some owners "may be alarmed by Cohen's vast resources and his ability to single-handedly outspend them and raise player salaries in general," notes NYT's David Waldstein.
  • Yes, but: The increased valuation of the Mets through the sale will increase the value of other teams, too, so something tells me they'll be more than comfortable approving the sale.

The backdrop: Cohen previously reached an agreement to buy the Mets late last year, but it fell apart in January over who would control the team during a five-year interim period after the sale.📚

Go deeper: "Black Edge" documents the rise and fall of SAC Capital Advisors, Cohen's previous hedge fund which in 2013 pleaded guilty to criminal fraud charges.

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