Billionaire hedge fund manager Steve Cohen has been officially announced as the owner of the New York Mets.
On Friday, Cohen closed on the $2 billion-plus deal to buy the team a week after the league announced that MLB owners approved the sale.
The New York Post reported last week that Cohen received the necessary 75% of the vote needed to complete the sale and become the club's majority owner. The transaction also required approval from New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who had the final say because Citi Field sits on city property.
"New York City has no objections and the Mets can now proceed with the transaction," de Blasio announced on Twitter.
The Wilpon and Katz families will retain 5% of the Mets following the sale.
"I extend my best wishes to Fred Wilpon, Saul Katz and Jeff Wilpon and thank them for their longstanding efforts for the Mets. In particular, we appreciate Fred's decades of service to league committees and the governance of the game," commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement.
"On behalf of Major League Baseball, I congratulate Mr. Cohen on receiving approval from the Major League Clubs. Steve will bring his lifelong passion for the Mets to the stewardship of his hometown team, and he will be joined by highly respected baseball leadership as well. I believe that Steve will work hard to deliver a team in which Mets fans can take pride."
On Sept. 14, Cohen and the Sterling Partners—the Wilpon and Katz families—signed an agreement for him to purchase the Mets. The sale was subject to the approval of MLB's owners.
Cohen entered exclusive negotiations to buy the franchise in August. The Mets announced in December 2019 that owners Fred and Jeff Wilpon were looking to sell a majority of the team, which they had controlled since 2002. At the time, the Wilpons were in negotiations to sell up to 80% of the team to Cohen. However, after the hedge fund manager attempted to buy the New York franchise for $2.6 billion in 2019, that deal collapsed as the Wilpons hoped to remain with the club well into the 2020s.
The list of Mets suitors this summer included Cohen, Philadelphia 76ers owner Josh Harris and a group led by Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez.
According to Forbes's most recent MLB valuations, the Mets are the sixth highest-valued franchise in MLB at $2.4 billion, up 4% from 2019. New York has reached the playoffs three times–including an appearance in the 2015 World Series–since Fred Wilpon assumed control of the team from Nelson Doubleday in 2002.
The Mets finished the shortened 2020 season last in the NL East with a 26–34 record.
Cohen, a native of Long Island, N.Y., grew up as a Mets fan and is expected to invest heavily in the team to improve its financial restrictions and ignite its push for contention. Some of the biggest names in this winter's free-agent class, such as catcher J.T. Realmuto and starting pitcher Trevor Bauer, are among his expected targets.