The owners of the New York Mets are in negotiations to sell a significant stake of the franchise to billionaire hedge fund magnate Steve Cohen, the team confirmed on Wednesday.
Cohen would increase his existing stake in the Mets through a deal with Sterling Partners, the investment firm of current Mets owners Fred Wilpon and his son Jeff. Under the deal’s terms, the Wilpons will remain at the helm of the franchise for a five-year term, with Fred Wilpon continuing to serve as CEO and Jeff Wilpon serving as COO.
“The Sterling Partners and Steve Cohen are negotiating an agreement in which Cohen would increase his investment in the Mets,” the team said in a statement.
Cohen will retain his role as CEO and president of Point 72 Asset Management, the team said. Cohen’s family office, Cohen Private Ventures, will manage his stake in the Mets.
The Mets did not publicly comment on the size of Cohen’s eventual ownership stake. However, multiple reports said Cohen will acquire up to 80 percent of the franchise and become majority owner. The deal purportedly values the Mets at $2.6 billion.
Fox Sports reporter Ken Rosenthal was first to report on the deal.
He has a personal net worth of more than $13 billion, according to Forbes. In 2016, Cohen and his former SAC Capital Advisors hedge fund were hit with insider trading charges and forced to pay a record $1.8 billion penalty and a $135 million settlement with investors of Ireland-based drugmaker Elan, which is now part of U.S. drugmaker Perrigo.
Cohen's purchase of the Mets is just the latest example of private equity's deeper and deeper involvement of major league sports franchises. Read the FOX Business special series, "Changing the Game: Wall Street's Newest Play" for more.