Hedge fund manager Steve Cohen has reached an agreement to buy the majority stake of the recently embattled New York Mets from longtime owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz.
The transaction remains subject to the approval of at least 23 other Major League Baseball owners, likely to happen in November.
Cohen already owned 8% of the team and will shell out between $2.4 billion and $2.45 billion for the majority share, the New York Post reported.
That price would set a new record for a North American sports team. The prior record was the 2018 sale of the Carolina Panthers to hedge fund manager David Tepper for $2.275 billion. The highest price paid for an MLB franchise was the $2.15 billion spent to purchase the Los Angeles Dodgers and Dodger Stadium in 2012.
Under the new Mets deal, Cohen will own 95% of the team with the Wilpon family maintaining a 5% stake. The agreement reportedly does not include regional sports network SNY, which was started and still primarily owned by Wilpon and Katz’s company Sterling Equities.
The Wilpons bought the controlling stake in the team for $391 million in 2002.
Cohen, who is now worth $14.6 billion according to Forbes, beat out a group of bidders that included former New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez alongside entertainment mogul — and his fiancé — Jennifer Lopez, as well as Philadelphia 76ers owners Josh Harris and David Blitzer
In January 2019, Cohen had reportedly reached a deal to buy a smaller majority share of a team at a higher price, but the deal fell through as the Wilpons sought to control the team for a period of five years after the sale.
The Mets have been tied in a number of media gaffs over the last few years, on top of producing a subpar on-field product. The team hasn’t won a World Series since 1986 — and before that, 1969.