Hedge-fund multibillionaire Steve Cohen, a group of investors fronted by celebrity couple Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez, and private equity duo Josh Harris and David Blitzer were among those to bid on the Mets on Thursday, sources said.
The Wilpon and Katz families, the longtime Mets owners who have been trying to sell the team since February, wanted all interested parties to submit their first-round offers by close of business Thursday.
It is not clear how much Cohen, Rodriguez/Lopez, Harris/Blitzer and other potential suitors offered for the Mets.
The Mets hired Steve Greenberg of Allen & Co., a Manhattan-based boutique investment bank, to oversee the process. Greenberg also sits on the Mets’ board of directors.
A person familiar with the sale process said Greenberg will spend the coming days going through the proposals, asking follow-up questions of the groups and reviewing everything with the Wilpons. The Wilpons have told people they would like to close on a transaction by the end of the year.
The team’s financial picture, already challenging to begin with, is complicated by the lack of game-generated revenue amid the pandemic-delayed season. Yet the Mets will be on the hook for player salaries when the season begins in two weeks and, perhaps most notably, have a $21.5 million bond payment due Dec. 15.
Industry insiders view Cohen — a Great Neck native, a lifelong Mets fan and, since 2012, a minority owner of the team — as the favorite because of his financial might and personal interest in owning the club. He has an estimated net worth of $13.6 billion, according to Forbes.
Cohen’s deal to buy up to 80% of the club, which would have valued the team at a baseball-record $2.6 billion, fell through in early February, sending the Wilpons looking for a new buyer. His potential continued interest in purchasing the team has lingered over the entire process, and this week he made clear his intent to bid.
Joining Rodriguez and Lopez are Vitaminwater co-founder Mike Repole, a Queens native, and multimillionaire Florida Panthers owner Vinnie Viola, a Brooklyn native. They were set to contribute up to a combined $250 million, sources previously said. Rodriguez and Lopez, whose combined net worth is an estimated $700 million, have been working with JPMorgan Chase to recruit other investors.
Harris and Blitzer are looking to add the Mets to their growing portfolio of professional sports teams. They own the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers, the NHL’s New Jersey Devils, the English Premier League’s Crystal Palace FC and a piece of the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers.