Tagged in: Owners

MLB owners approve New York Mets sale to Steve Cohen

Steve Cohen’s bid to buy the New York Mets was accepted by Major League Baseball’s Ownership Committee, all but assuring the hedge fund titan will be the team’s new owner, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Ownership Committee, chaired by Pittsburgh Pirates Chairman Bob Nutting, reviewed the vetting of Cohen and details of the proposed transaction, said the people, who were granted anonymity because the matter is private.

MLB refused to comment.

The next step in the process is a review by the commissioner’s Executive Council, after which the proposed sale will be voted on by a full slate of owners.

Cohen needs 23 votes for approval.

The final vote may take place soon after the World Series. Also on the Ownership Committee are Chicago White Sox Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, Chris Ilitch of the Detroit Tigers, Paul Dolan of the Cleveland Indians and Fred Wilpon of the Mets. Wilpon likely had to recuse himself.  Cohen met virtually with the Ownership Committee weeks ago.

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Cohen, who already holds an 8% stake in the Mets, has agreed to pay a record $2.42 billion for the team he grew up rooted for as a kid on Long Island.

Under terms of the deal Cohen will hold a 95% stake in the team. The current owners, the Katz and Wilpon families, will keep 5%.

Cohen will assume control of a franchise that even in a non-COVID season loses at least $50 million annually.

That said, with a net worth of more than $10 billion, according to Bloomberg, Cohen has the resources to sustain annual losses while still investing in players.

His facility to finance the purchase without investors was key in his winning an auction that included Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils owner Josh Harris and a group led by former big-league Most Valuable Player Alex Rodriguez.

The sellers gained control of the Mets for $391 million in 2002. Cohen has already said he would name former Mets executive Sandy Alderson as the team’s president once approved.

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Owners approve MLB season proposal, plan for July start

Major League Baseball owners accepted a proposal that commissioner Rob Manfred plans to present to players Tuesday on a return-to-play scenario that aims to have baseball back in home stadiums by early July, sources familiar with the situation told ESPN.

The meeting between MLB and the MLB Players Association on Tuesday will set the stage for what both parties expect to be a contentious negotiation.

Although MLB could benefit long-term from being the first American team sport to return amid the coronavirus pandemic, the logistics of beginning the season remain convoluted and require player support. Money is at the heart of the return, sources said.

Owners, fearful of deep financial losses with fan-free stadiums, agreed in a conference call Monday afternoon to a plan that includes a 50-50 revenue split with the players, sources told ESPN.

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Concerns about the league’s handling of testing and ensuring as safe a working environment as possible will be an issue broached by players on Tuesday and in the coming days, sources told ESPN.

Washington Nationals pitcher Sean Doolittle took to social media Monday to set that table.

As the sides are negotiating, the league will continue to seek consent from governmental entities and support from the medical community for a potential return.

The season could begin Fourth of July weekend, with games around the country in home stadiums. The intra-division-heavy schedule would be to limit travel, with teams possibly traveling by bus to nearby cities.

If any ballpark is not available because state or local officials have not approved the resumption of play, Manfred has told owners that he is prepared to move that team to another city to play home games, a team owner and a team president told ESPN.

Spring training likely would not include any matches, and teams could get ready for the season at their home stadiums. The 50 players available would be a mixture of major leaguers and top minor league players, with the minor league season in jeopardy.

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