Hedge-fund billionaire Steve Cohen is nearing a deal that would give him controlling ownership of the New York Mets. Cohen, a Long Island native, is set to buy a majority stake (80%) in the Mets from the Wilpon family in a deal valuing the team at $2.6 billion. The sale would be the biggest in the history of U.S. sports franchises in terms of team valuation at the time of sale.
The previous high for a professional baseball team was in 2012 when the Los Angeles Dodgers were sold while the team was valued at $2.12 billion. And the previous high for any American sports franchise was $2.35 billion. That’s how much the Brooklyn Nets were valued at when Alibaba Group BABA, +0.94% co-founder Joe Tsai bought the 51% of the team he didn’t already own in the summer of 2019.
Many franchise sales involve varying percentages of ownership stakes. In this instance, Cohen is expected to pay around $2 billion for 80% of the Mets at a $2.6 billion valuation. By comparison, former Microsoft MSFT, +1.21% CEO Steve Ballmer paid $2 billion for 100% of the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers in 2014.
Steve Cohen, Point72 Asset Management CEO, is negotiating to buy the New York Mets.
According to the Forbes list of most valuable baseball franchises, released in 2019, the New York Mets are the 6th highest valued team in the MLB behind the Yankees, Dodgers, Red Sox, Cubs and Giants. The Yankees are valued the highest at $4.6 billion.
In a letter to investors at Point72 Asset Management, where Cohen is CEO, he confirmed his interest in buying the baseball club. The contents of that letter were first reported by Bloomberg News.
The negotiations between Cohen and the Wilpons are ongoing, but the sale appears likely, according to reports.