Close to two weeks after he entered exclusive negotiations to buy the Mets, hedge-fund multibillionaire Steve Cohen’s talks with the Wilpon and Katz families are progressing “smoothly” with “no obstacles,” a source said Wednesday.
The deal is expected to become official within the next week or two, according to the source. If and when that happens, Cohen still will need to be vetted by MLB and approved by 23 of the other 29 club owners, a process that could take more than a month.
The bidding process for the Mets effectively ended Aug. 28, when Sterling Equities — the Wilpon/Katz family business that owns the Mets — decided to negotiate with Cohen and only Cohen as it seeks to sell the franchise. Cohen, whose net worth is an estimated $13 billion, beat out a group of investors fronted by celebrity couple Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez, as well as private equity duo Josh Harris and David Blitzer.
Since then, though, Rodriguez and Lopez have worked to stay in the public spotlight, including Lopez telling the New York Post on Tuesday that “It ain’t over until it’s over.” They said they were the best option to run the Mets and would guarantee a World Series win within a decade or donate $100 million to New York charities.
On the night news of Cohen’s exclusive talks became public, Rodriguez and Lopez posted a statement to their social media accounts that said the group had “informed the Mets that they are no longer pursuing the acquisition of the team.” But those posts have since disappeared from their personal platforms.
Two days later, on Aug. 30, Rodriguez posted on Instagram a 2-minute, 29-second video of a baby bear struggling to scale an icy mountain. His caption: “PERSEVERANCE & FAITH.”
Cohen’s pursuit of the Mets hit a snag once, when his first deal, which would have valued the team at a baseball-record $2.6 billion, fell apart in February.
But as he works toward finalizing this version, which gives the Mets a reported $2.35 billion valuation, it appears that only formalities and time — not any other bidders — stand in his way.