Billionaire hedge fund manager Steve Cohen has entered exclusive negotiations to buy the Mets, according to CNBC's David Faber.
Cohen, who had been close to purchasing the team in late 2019, is expected to purchase the team within the coming days. Unlike the previously reported deal in 2019, any new purchase would give him control of the team immediately.
Cohen's exclusive negotiations come as he fought off a number of potential buyers. Among other groups, one led by Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez reportedly has pulled out of the bidding.
“The consortium, which included Vincent Viola, Mike Repole and Marc Lore had submitted a fully funded offer at a record price for the team, which was supported by binding debt commitments from JP Morgan and equity commitment letters from credit worthy partners," Rodriguez said in a statement. "The consortium said that they are disappointed to not be part of the revitalization of New York City and provide an exhilarating experience for the fans and wish the Wilpon family and the entire Mets organization well.”
The Rodriguez-Lopez group reportedly had advanced to the second round of bidding in July, according to Sportico. Its bid was reported to be for $1.7 billion, according to ESPN.
The Mets announced in December 2019 that owners Fred and Jeff Wilpon were looking to sell a majority of the team, which they have controlled since 2002. At the time, the Wilpons were in negotiations to sell up to 80% of the team to Cohen. However, the deal fell through in February when Cohen wanted immediate control of the franchise, while the Wilpon family wanted to remain with the Mets for five years.
The Mets were valued at $2.4 billion in Forbes' annual sports franchise valuations, representing the sixth-most valuable MLB franchise. The Wilpon group acquired the team for $392 million.