Many New York Mets fans may have their wishes granted as Greenwich hedge fund billionaire Steve Cohen, a Long Island native, is taking steps to purchase the majority of the team from the Wilpon family.
Sterling Partners, the Wilpon’s family business, has reportedly entered talks to sell up to 80 percent of its shares of the Major League baseball team to Cohen, who is already an investor in the club.
If completed, the transaction would value the franchise at approximately $2.6 billion. Under the proposed agreement, Fred Wilpon would remain as CEO for five more years, and Jeff Wilpon will continue on as COO for the same stretch.
A Great Neck native, Cohen, 63, the CEO of Point72 Asset Management and former founder of S.A.C. Capital Advisors, has a net worth of between $9 billion and 12 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Cohen first bought into the Mets in 2012, when he paid $20 million for a 4 percent stake in the club.
Fred Wilpon and Nelson Doubleday purchased the Mets in the 1980s before the Wilpons bought him out in 2002. Since taking over, the Wilpons have drawn the ire of Mets fans for their lack of spending on players, despite being in the New York market. They’ve been selling off small portions of the team since being duped by Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme.
“The Sterling Partners and Steve Cohen are negotiating an agreement in which Steve Cohen would increase his investment in the New York Mets,” the Mets said in a statement. “As part of that agreement, Fred Wilpon will remain in the role of the Control Person and CEO for five years and Jeff Wilpon will remain in his role as Chief Operating Officer for the 5 year period as well.”
A year after purchasing a stake in the team, In 2013, SAC Capital, agreed to pay $1.8 billion to settle charges that it tolerated insider trading. In 2016, the SEC barred Cohen -- who stood accused of failing to oversee an employee who engaged in insider trading at his firm - from managing money for outside investors for two years.
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