Steve Cohen speaks at the Robin Hood Veterans Summit at...

Steve Cohen speaks at the Robin Hood Veterans Summit at Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum on May 7, 2012 Credit: Craig Barritt / Getty Images

Amid rumors that Steve Cohen’s pending purchase of the Mets is falling through, the Wilpons didn’t deny it Tuesday.

Instead, Sterling Partners — the Wilpon family business that owns the Mets — issued a statement through a team spokesman. And for the first time in the two months that the negotiations have been public knowledge, the Mets invoked an apparent legal inability to discuss it.

“The parties are subject to confidentiality obligations, including a mutual non-disclosure agreement, and therefore cannot comment,” the statement read.

Since the Mets and Cohen revealed their negotiations Dec. 4, that was the first mention — from either side — of a non-disclosure agreement. A spokesman for Cohen also declined to comment.

Previously, the Mets were coy, but never litigious, in their discussion of the sale talks.

General manager Brodie Van Wagenen repeatedly has described this offseason as “business as usual” regarding the ownership dynamic. On Jan. 22, pressed on the status of the negotiations, chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon said there was “no change” and “nothing announced on it.”

Cohen, a hedge-fund multibillionaire who grew up in Great Neck, and Sterling Partners announced two months ago that they were negotiating an agreement in which Cohen “would increase his investment in the New York Mets.” A source said then that the deal would make him the club’s majority owner. He already has an 8% stake in the team after becoming a minority owner in 2012.

On Tuesday, Barstool Sports — a massively popular and sometimes controversial sports-centric website of blogs and podcasts — first mentioned that the talks with Cohen were falling apart. The New York Post later reported that Cohen was angry with the Wilpons for changing the terms of their deal at a late stage in the negotiations. CNBC said Cohen had walked away from the deal.

Under the initially announced agreement, Mets control person/chief executive officer Fred Wilpon, 83, and his son, COO Jeff Wilpon, were to retain those titles for five years after the close of the sale. After that, a source said at the time, Cohen was set to become the control person, which is Major League Baseball’s term for a club’s top decision-maker.

The specifics of that unusual arrangement are not clear. The deal, which reportedly would give Cohen ownership of up to 80 percent of the franchise, valued the Mets at an MLB-record $2.6 billion.

Cohen, 63 and the CEO and president of Point72 Asset Management, has an estimated net worth of $9.2 billion, according to Bloomberg. No baseball team owner is richer.

This would be the second time the Wilpons’ near-sale of the Mets has fallen through late in the process. In 2011, hedge-fund manager David Einhorn was close to buying a minority share of the team — with a path to becoming the majority owner — for $200 million.

Then the Wilpons changed the terms of that deal, he said.

“I received a new round of comments on our definitive agreement,” Einhorn said at the time. “I was very surprised to see that many of the provisions of the deal, that were in place (for three months prior), had been changed … A week ago I thought this deal was in great shape and would be done very soon.”

This time, news of a potential new owner was again received positively by the Mets’ fan base, which long ago soured on the Wilpon regime. After initially buying portions of the Mets in the 1980s, Fred Wilpon became the majority owner in 2002, when he bought the other half of the franchise from Nelson Doubleday Jr.

In the more than 17 years since, the Mets have had eight managers, five general managers, three playoff appearances and zero World Series championships. This offseason has been another tumultuous one, with limited on-field additions and two manager hires — first Carlos Beltran, who lost the job over his involvement in the 2017 Astros’ sign-stealing scandal, and then Luis Rojas.

Pitchers and catchers are due to report to spring training Monday, and it appears that they will have the same owners, unless Cohen and the Wilpons settle their apparent issues.

As one Cohen acquaintance said in early December: “Stevie gets what he wants.”

Except, perhaps, majority ownership of the Mets.