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Mets have seven minority buyers lined up

Owner Fred Wilpon of the New York Mets

Owner Fred Wilpon of the New York Mets addresses the media during spring training at Tradition Field. (Feb. 17, 2011) Credit: Getty Images

The Mets have received seven commitments to purchase minority shares of the team, a person familiar with the process said Thursday. The team announced in September that it would try to sell 10 units at $20 million each to assist in operating expenses and pay off a loan to Major League Baseball.

The names of the potential limited partners have been submitted to Major League Baseball, which has begun its vetting process, according to the person. The person also said the Mets intend to pay back the $25 million they borrowed from MLB when the new partners are approved. Another source confirmed that the Mets have presented a list of proposed partners to MLB.

No timetable was given for the completion of the unit sales, the person said.

The New York Times first reported that the Mets had seven commitments.

Hedge-fund manager David Einhorn was named the team's "preferred partner" on May 26 and the two sides appeared to be close to a deal. On Sept. 1, the team announced they were no longer negotiating with Einhorn, largely because of control issues and would instead seek multiple minority partners.

Mets owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz are facing a clawback suit from Irving Picard, the trustee in the Bernard Madoff bankruptcy. A trial in the case is set for March.


Backman moves up

Wally Backman is moving his way up the Mets' farm system after being named manager of the team's Triple-A affiliate in Buffalo.

At 52, the former Mets second baseman takes over the Buffalo Bisons. He replaces Tim Teufel, who was named the Mets' third-base coach.

Backman managed the Double-A Binghamton Mets this past season. -- AP

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