Get all the latest news on coronavirus and more delivered daily to your inbox. Sign up here.
Because the MLB’s future is uncertain because of the coronavirus pandemic, Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez could have a chance to buy the New York Mets at a steep discount, according to a report on Tuesday.
Rodriguez and Lopez have hired JP Morgan Chase to raise funds for a potential bid to buy the Mets. The franchise’s current owners, the Wilpon family, has been searching for a buyer ever since a deal to sell an 80 percent majority stake to billionaire Steve Cohen at a $2.6 billion valuation fell apart last December.
The celebrity couple is putting together an ownership group that will aim to pay up front for the franchise, with billionaire Jorge Mas said to be a key member, the New York Post reported, citing sources familiar with the situation. As MLB teams contend with a complete halt to revenue due to the indefinite suspension of play, Rodriguez’s group has a chance to pay far less than the earlier $2.6 billion.
“A motivated seller has a problem right now,” a source close to the Wilpons told the New York Post. “I think the Wilpons are motivated sellers.”
A representative for Rodriguez did not return a request for comment. JP Morgan Chase declined comment. Mets officials referred to an earlier statement from owner Jeff Wilpon, who said in February the team would have no further comment on the sale process.
A prolonged delay to MLB’s 2020 season is costing teams a fortune in revenue from ticket sales and other sources. The stoppage has raised questions about whether MLB teams will eventually enact furloughs, staff reductions or player pay cuts to reduce their losses.
Given the MLB’s current outlook and the Mets’ pre-existing financial challenges, sports investment insiders are now valuing the team at closer to $1.5 billion, according to multiple reports.
Lacking the financial resources required to own a majority stake, Rodriguez and Lopez are said to be seeking a smaller ownership share as part of their group. Rodriguez’s former teammate, Derek Jeter, took a similar path to ownership of the Miami Marlins, putting up $25 million for a four percent stake in that franchise.
“He’s got a group with some real names,” a source told the New York Post regarding the ownership bid. “Alex is gonna get this because of COVID. It’s gonna fall in his lap.”