NEW YORK -- The Mets announced Thursday night that they will not sell a majority stake of the team to hedge fund manager Steve Cohen, who entered exclusive negotiations to buy the team late last year. However, the Wilpon family still intends to sell the team, and has hired a local investment bank to spearhead that process.
Reports began surfacing earlier this week that negotiations between the Wilpons and Cohen had fallen apart. The Wilpons’ parent company, Sterling Equities, confirmed that in a statement.
“The transaction between Sterling and Steve Cohen was a highly complicated one,” the statement read. “Despite the efforts of the parties over the past several months, it became apparent that the transaction as contemplated would have been too difficult to execute.”
Publicly released terms of the proposed deal included a five-year transition period, during which Fred and Jeff Wilpon would still run day-to-day team operations. That reportedly became a point of contention between the Wilpons and Cohen during negotiations.
Earlier Thursday, Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred called “the assertion that the transaction fell apart because of something the Wilpons did … completely and utterly unfair.”
The Wilpon family has hired local investment bank Allen & Company to manage its sale of the team. The Wilpons, along with president Saul Katz, have owned a majority stake in the Mets since 2002. Jeff Wilpon has been chief operating officer since that time.