Greenwich billionaire Steve Cohen’s $2.6 billion acquisition of the New York Mets may turn out to be a swing and a miss.
The deal, first announced in December, is “on life support,” according to the New York Post.
Under the original scenario, longtime owner Fred Wilpon would have remained in control of the team as CEO for five years, while his son Jeff would continue as COO for the same period. The Wilpons would then cede day-to-day operations of the team to Cohen, the president and CEO of Stamford’s Point72 Asset Management.
Not included in the deal was ownership of SNY, the team’s regional sports network.
“But sources familiar with the talks said the Wilpons pushed late to maintain some control of the franchise beyond the five-year window,” the Post reported. “There also appears to have been some disagreement over the long-term status of SNY. Details are murky on the SNY front, but initial reports might have overstated the simplicity of the Wilpons retaining ownership of the network as a separate entity.”
Cohen has declined comment on the matter. The team issued a statement saying that “The parties are subject to confidentiality obligations, including a mutual nondisclosure agreement, and therefore cannot comment.”
Wilpon had tried to sell the Mets to another billionaire, hedge fund manager David Einhorn, in 2011. That deal also collapsed amid accusations that the Wilpons were trying to tweak the sale’s terms midway through the process, resulting in Einhorn’s exiting the negotiations and accusing the Wilpons of bad faith.
Should the Cohen deal collapse, it would be the second time in less than a month that a high-profile Mets transaction has failed. On Jan. 16, the team announced it was parting ways with Carlos Beltrán, who had been hired as its manager on Nov. 1, after Beltrán’s apparent involvement in the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal came to light.