Jan. 24, 1980: Doubleday & Co. purchases controlling interest in the Mets from the Charles Payson family for $21.1 million. Minority partner Fred Wilpon’s share is a reported to be 5 percent.
Nov. 14, 1986: Wilpon and Nelson Doubleday, Jr., purchase the Mets from Doubleday & Co. for $80.75 million, becoming full partners with each owning a 50-percent controlling interest.
Aug. 13, 2002: The Wilpon family agrees to buy Doubleday's 50-percent interest in the team. The deal is officially completed 10 days later.
Dec. 7, 2010: Irving Picard, the trustee appointed to recover and distribute Bernard Madoff’s assets, files a lawsuit against Fred Wilpon and his real estate firm, Sterling Equities, for withdrawing money they invested with Madoff. In 2009, Madoff was convicted of defrauding thousands of investors in a massive Ponzi scheme.
Jan. 28, 2011: Fred and Jeff Wilpon announce they will sell a 20-25 percent minority stake of the Mets.
Feb. 3, 2011: Settlement negotiations between the Wilpons and Picard break down. The lawsuit is expected to become public the following day.
Feb. 4, 2011: The lawsuit becomes public and the Wilpons are accused of feeding off Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. The report also states that Fred Wilpon tried to get Madoff to buy a piece of the team in 2002. Picard wants the Wilpons to surrender at least $300 million in fictitious profits to help pay back Madoff investors.
Feb. 16, 2011: At the Mets spring training facility in Port St. Lucie., Florida, Jeff Wilpon tells reporters his family is not selling control of the team.
Feb. 17, 2011: Also at the Mets’ spring training site, Fred Wilpon says his family "will be vindicated" in the Madoff case. He added that they were "duped" by Madoff, a former close friend.
Feb. 25, 2011: It is announced the Mets received a $25 million loan from Major League Baseball in November, 2010, to cover short-term operating costs.
March 2011: Forbes Magazine values the Mets at $747 million, a 13-percent drop from the $858 million the season before. It was the steepest decline for any team in baseball.
March 1, 2011: MLB receives a list of potential candidates seeking to buy a minority interst in the team.
March 18, 2011: Picard amends his original complaint and now seeks more than $1 billion from Fred Wilpon, Saul Katz and Sterling Equities.
May 26, 2011: The Mets announce an agreement to sell a minority share of the team to hedge fund manager David Einhorn for $200 million.
Sept. 1, 2011: The exclusive negotiating period between David Einhorn and the Mets expires and ownership decides not to extend it. Since no deal was reached, the Mets will have to explore other options to cover their losses.
Dec. 12, 2011: Five days after the Miami Marlins introduced Jose Reyes as their new shortstop, the cash-strapped Mets confirmed they took out another loan. A source said the loan was for $40 million. The team owes $25 million to MLB for a loan issued in November 2010 and, reportedly, hundreds of millions more to financial institutions.
March 3, 2012: Newsday obtains a report that the Mets' ballpark-related revenue (parking, concessions, stadium advertising and more) has dropped more than 30 percent since Citi Field opened in 2009, and premium-ticket sales have fallen almost 50 percent.
March 19, 2012: Mets ownership reached a $162 million settlement with Picard on the day a civil trial was set to begin. The Mets' owners will not have to begin paying any of that settlement for three years.
January 2015: Fred Wilpon named chairman of Major League Baseball’s finance committee by commissioner Rob Manfred.
Dec. 4, 2019: Mets announce they are in talks to sell a majority stake of the team to hedge fund titan Steve Cohen.
Feb. 6, 2020: Steven Cohen’s deal to buy up to 80% of the Mets, which would have valued the team at a baseball-record $2.6 billion, falls through over disagreements about the Wilpons’ continued control of the organization after he took over. "I gave it my best shot," he said. The Wilpons announce they will look for a new buyer.
Aug. 28, 2020: After more than six months of rumors, Steve Cohen is the last bidder standing, entering exclusive negotiations with the Wilpons to buy the Mets. The other finalists: celebrity couple Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez, who announce they are no longer pursuing the team with their group of investors, and private equity duo Josh Harris and David Blitzer, owners of the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils.
Sept. 14, 2020: Steve Cohen agreed to buy the Mets from the Wilpon and Katz families, pending approval from Major League Baseball, the team announced. The deal values the Mets at about $2.475 billion, according to a source. That is the most ever for a U.S. sports franchise, topping the $2.2 billion that the NFL’s Carolina Panthers went for in 2018. The previous high for an MLB franchise was the Dodgers’ $2.15 billion price tag in 2012.
Oct. 30, 2020: MLB owners approved the sale of the Mets to Steve Cohen.