Steve Cohen’s purchase of the Mets took another step toward completion when his deal was approved by MLB’s Ownership Committee, one of the smaller groups that needed to give the hedge-fund multibillionaire a thumbs-up before he officially takes over, a source said Tuesday.
Notably, this was not the final vote. The ownership committee is a subset of major-league owners that reviews the granular details of the transaction before it is presented to the whole group.
Another one of those smaller groups — the Executive Council — will review Cohen and his pact next, according to Sportico, which was first to report the ownership committee news.
Then comes the last hurdle: a full vote of all team owners. Cohen needs yes votes from 23 of 30 owners — 22 of 29 not counting outgoing Mets leader Fred Wilpon — to gain final approval.
That is expected to happen at any point after the World Series, which can end as early as Saturday or as late as next Wednesday.
Sources said last month, when Cohen and the Wilpon and Katz families agreed on his $2.475 billion acquisition of the team, that Cohen is expected to receive the required support. Pending new owners are almost never vetoed once it gets to this stage.
When the deal is finalized, Cohen will own 95% of the franchise, up from his current 8% stake. The Wilpon and Katz families are set to retain 5%.
Cohen is taking on the titles of chairman and chief executive officer, as well as being the control person, which is how MLB refers to a club’s majority owner and top decision-maker.
In the meantime, the Mets are in limbo, waiting for the boss — bosses — to arrive officially. Cohen announced last month that if and when he becomes the owner, former general manager Sandy Alderson will return to the organization as team president, overseeing all baseball and business operations.
The fate of GM Brodie Van Wagenen and others is uncertain.
In addition to making the front-office changes they desire, Cohen and Alderson will need to address on-field needs at catcher, starting pitcher, maybe centerfield and elsewhere.
Already, the Mets are feeling the happy effects of Cohen’s estimated $14 billion net worth. He OK'd the Mets starting to pay full-time employees their full salaries again beginning Nov. 1. The Wilpons implemented pay cuts starting June 1 because of pandemic-related revenue issues.