Billionaire hedge fund manager Steve Cohen signed an agreement Monday with Sterling Partners to purchase 95 percent of the New York Mets for a reported $2.47 billion.
The price, according to Newsday, was agreed upon less than three weeks after it was reported that Cohen had entered into exclusive negotiations to purchase the team from the Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz families.
Wilpon is the managing partner of the Mets, while Katz is the president.
The 64-year-old Cohen, a native of Great Neck, New York, is worth $14.6 billion, according to Forbes. He moved to the forefront of negotiations to buy the team after it was reported that former major leaguer Alex Rodriguez and his fiance, Jennifer Lopez, had an interest in purchasing the team.
"I am excited to have reached an agreement with the Wilpon and Katz families to purchase the New York Mets," Cohen said in a statement.
The other MLB owners will have to vote on the approval of the deal, with an ownership subcommittee expected to vet Cohen and the deal. Ownership approval could come as soon as November and is dependent on at least 23 of the current 30 owners signing off on the agreement.
If approved, the $2.47 billion purchase price for the Mets would surpass the $2.15 billion Guggenheim Baseball Management paid for the Los Angeles Dodgers in March 2012.
Also if completed, the sales transaction would be the richest for a North American sports franchise. Joseph Tsai bought the NBA's Brooklyn Nets for $2.35 billion in 2019, and another hedge fund manager, David Tepper, paid $2.275 billion for the NFL's Carolina Panthers in 2018.
Like Wilpon and Katz, who were sued in connection with the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme more than a decade ago, Cohen has a controversial finance background. He was connected to a 2012 insider trading scandal; SAC Capital Advisors, which he started partly with $10 million of his own money, paid $1.8 billion in penalties.
Cohen's current hedge fund venture, Point72 Ventures, is based in Stamford, Conn.
In 2012, Cohen joined the ownership group of the Mets, purchasing 8 percent of the team.
The Mets are 21-26 this year and finished 86-76 last season but did not make the playoffs. Their most recent playoff appearance was in 2016, when they went 87-75 and lost to San Francisco in the National League wild-card game. They advanced to the World Series in 2015, losing to the Kansas City Royals in five games.
--Field Level Media