Wilpons to sell controlling interest in Mets

mauf

Anderson Cooper x Mr. Rogers
Staff member
Dope
Wall Street mogul (and current Mets minority investor) Steve Cohen is reportedly close to an agreement to purchase an 80% stake in the Mets. The deal values the club at $2.6b. Fred and Jeff Wilpon will remain in their current roles for five years, which presumably means they will continue to control the club during that time.

 

santadevil

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 1, 2006
4,138
Saskatchestan
Are the Mets really worth $2.6B?
Forbes did show them at $2.3B on their list, so I guess they are probably close, but I just can't believe it

A change in ownership would likely be a good thing for the Mets, but 5 more years would seem like a deal breaker to me, if I was buying (my $2.6B is in my other pants)
 

shaggydog2000

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 5, 2007
6,338
So the Wilpons are going to be on the payroll for 10 years less than Bobby Bonilla is going to be?
 

luckiestman

Son of the Harpy
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
13,755
Are the Mets really worth $2.6B?
Forbes did show them at $2.3B on their list, so I guess they are probably close, but I just can't believe it

A change in ownership would likely be a good thing for the Mets, but 5 more years would seem like a deal breaker to me, if I was buying (my $2.6B is in my other pants)
Appraisals mean dick. They are worth what someone will pay.
 

santadevil

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 1, 2006
4,138
Saskatchestan
Appraisals mean dick. They are worth what someone will pay.
I totally agree. I'm just blown away that the Mets are potentially worth that much, compared to say, the Dodgers, which was $2.0B seven years ago
For a sport supposedly in decline, these valuations keep going up and up, based on TV deals and I wonder if a bubble is forming


edit: sorry, was editing my comment
 

luckiestman

Son of the Harpy
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
13,755
I totally agree. I'm just blown away that the Mets are potentially worth close to what the Yankees are worth
I know which team I would buy if given the choice (the Red Sox)
But I don’t think you could get the Yanks for the same price.
 

Ale Xander

Lacks black ink
SoSH Member
Oct 31, 2013
24,365
I totally agree. I'm just blown away that the Mets are potentially worth that much, compared to say, the Dodgers
Mets have a nicer stadium, in a slightly larger market, on a pricier piece of real estate.

Edit: Actually scratch that, NYC owns Citi Field.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 23, 2009
11,198
Maine
Are the Mets really worth $2.6B?
Forbes did show them at $2.3B on their list, so I guess they are probably close, but I just can't believe it

A change in ownership would likely be a good thing for the Mets, but 5 more years would seem like a deal breaker to me, if I was buying (my $2.6B is in my other pants)
Yeah, it seems strange that Cohen is buying a majority interest in the team but will not get control for five years. He reportedly has long wanted to be an owner, and that's why he invested in the Mets in the first place. The presumption is his infusion of cash is going to enable the team to spend more like the big market team they are. Odd that he'd infuse that cash then not have a say in how the team is run.
 

santadevil

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 1, 2006
4,138
Saskatchestan
Ya, sorry, I was editing my comment once I realized the Mets were at half of the Yankees value...I thought it was around $3.0B for them, not double
 

Steve Dillard

wishes drew noticed him instead of sweet & sour
SoSH Member
Oct 7, 2003
4,538
Exhibit A in the labor war. Hard to cry poverty with values like this even for weaker (but bigger market) teams.
 

DukeSox

Rick Derris
SoSH Member
Dec 22, 2005
10,990
Yeah, it seems strange that Cohen is buying a majority interest in the team but will not get control for five years. He reportedly has long wanted to be an owner, and that's why he invested in the Mets in the first place. The presumption is his infusion of cash is going to enable the team to spend more like the big market team they are. Odd that he'd infuse that cash then not have a say in how the team is run.
It's an investment. Cheaper to buy it now than in 5 years. Mets performance doesn't dictate value unless they lose 100 games a year for years in a row
 

Spacemans Bong

chapeau rose
SoSH Member
I’m guessing Cohen sees waiting for five years as worth it to own the team he roots for — he’s from Long Island — rather than the Milwaukee Brewers or something.

The Mets seem like a great opportunity considering how much sports franchises go for. A huge fanbase starved for somebody besides the fucking Wilpons, a great park, a great baseball town that will embrace the Mets if they’re hot.
 

santadevil

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 1, 2006
4,138
Saskatchestan
It's an investment. Cheaper to buy it now than in 5 years. Mets performance doesn't dictate value unless they lose 100 games a year for years in a row
I guess, but what about the Wilpon's has recently has screamed "Be my investment steward" for the next 5 years
His purchase and control of 80% would be roughly $2.1BHe would be essentially giving them control of 15.3% of his net worth with this purchase (based on a net worth of $13.6B, per wikipedia)

This is where I'm wondering if there is a bubble. It's tough to assume that values will continue to increase at the pace they have been on for the past 20 years.
There is still only so much money and I would expect a few of these TV contracts will actually be losers for the companies doling them out and they won't continue to increase

However, I may be totally wrong and advertising dollars (which are the real driver here) may continually go up and up

edit/ Also, as I read @Spacemans Bong post, I figured I should paraphrase a member's signature here, whom I can't remember
"People don't get into the ownership side to make money"

So maybe this is just a hometown thing, where a fan has a chance to buy "his" team.
I'm sure most of us would do it if given the oppotunity
 

johnmd20

literally like ebola
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 30, 2003
40,127
New York City
I guess, but what about the Wilpon's has recently has screamed "Be my investment steward" for the next 5 years
His purchase and control of 80% would be roughly $2.1BHe would be essentially giving them control of 15.3% of his net worth with this purchase (based on a net worth of $13.6B, per wikipedia)

This is where I'm wondering if there is a bubble. It's tough to assume that values will continue to increase at the pace they have been on for the past 20 years.
There is still only so much money and I would expect a few of these TV contracts will actually be losers for the companies doling them out and they won't continue to increase

However, I may be totally wrong and advertising dollars (which are the real driver here) may continually go up and up

edit/ Also, as I read @Spacemans Bong post, I figured I should paraphrase a member's signature here, whom I can't remember
"People don't get into the ownership side to make money"

So maybe this is just a hometown thing, where a fan has a chance to buy "his" team.
I'm sure most of us would do it if given the oppotunity
There are only so many baseball teams. They are literally not fungible. So Cohen offloads some of his net worth to get a chance to buy the team in 5 years. Meanwhile, I feel like Cohen should be at least ok living on 11 billion dollars. Nobody is going to need to pass around a hat for him.

edit - it is awesome the Wilpons, ponzi scheme beneficiaries, are selling to Cohen, an inside trader who basically ran his fund like a mob boss. The criminality trickles down.
 

Vinho Tinto

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 9, 2003
5,787
Auburn, MA
There are only so many baseball teams. They are literally not fungible. So Cohen offloads some of his net worth to get a chance to buy the team in 5 years. Meanwhile, I feel like Cohen should be at least ok living on 11 billion dollars. Nobody is going to need to pass around a hat for him.

edit - it is awesome the Wilpons, ponzi scheme beneficiaries, are selling to Cohen, an inside trader who basically ran his fund like a mob boss. The criminality trickles down.
Agreed. It's as much as an investment as his famous art collection.

He was interested in the Dodgers, which made more financial sense, but he wants the Mets on a personal level. He gives a good amount of money to charity, but I wouldn't expect him to join the Gates Giving Pledge. What's the point of making the people who work for you miserable if you just die with a bunch of money?
 

Gdiguy

Well-Known Member
Silver Supporter
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
2,524
San Diego, CA
There are only so many baseball teams. They are literally not fungible. So Cohen offloads some of his net worth to get a chance to buy the team in 5 years. Meanwhile, I feel like Cohen should be at least ok living on 11 billion dollars. Nobody is going to need to pass around a hat for him.
This may have been the only way to do the deal, anyway - the Wilpons clearly enjoy the perks of owning a baseball team, but (nominal actual owner Fred) is 83, so '5 years' could easily equal 'still be owner for the rest of his life, but get the money now'
 

crow216

Dragon Wangler
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
14,807
Astoria
I'm surrounded by die-hard Mets fans who will be thrilled taht it's anybody but the Wilpons.
Yea. No question this is amazing news for Mets fans. Also, nobody knows the arrangement yet that will be finalized. Wilpons may still have titles and "control" in name but ultimately all the real decisions could fall the Cohen. Or perhaps Cohen is responsible for selecting staff, GMs, analytics teams, coaches..etc.
 

Ale Xander

Lacks black ink
SoSH Member
Oct 31, 2013
24,365
I seem to have read somewhere that Cohen is the inspiration behind the Axelrod character on Billions. Is this true?
 

crow216

Dragon Wangler
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
14,807
Astoria
Probably. Cohen is/was a huge name in the world of finance. He's Marc Cuban without the TV personality.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

Member
SoSH Member
Mar 26, 2005
17,428
I guess, but what about the Wilpon's has recently has screamed "Be my investment steward" for the next 5 years
His purchase and control of 80% would be roughly $2.1BHe would be essentially giving them control of 15.3% of his net worth with this purchase (based on a net worth of $13.6B, per wikipedia)
You know that's not really the way it works, right?

As someone said above, it a person really really wants to be an owner of a baseball team, you jump in when you have a chance because there is no telling whether that chance will come up again. There was someone who was going to let the Wilpons control the asset for a few years in order to gain control of the Mets.

It's along the lines of the deal Steve Bisciotti made with Art Modell. He purchased 49% of the interests but had the right 4 years later to purchase the rest of it. So for four years, Bisciotti infused the money but Modell made the decisions.
 

Van Everyman

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 30, 2009
18,307
Newton
Probably. Cohen is/was a huge name in the world of finance. He's Marc Cuban without the TV personality.
Um, that's underselling things a bit.

Anyone who thinks allowing Steve Cohen to own a professional sports franchise is a good idea should watch this: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/to-catch-a-trader/

The dude is absolute poison and the fact that he's still anywhere near Wall St. is merely a reflection of what a toothless piece of shit the SEC is.
 

crow216

Dragon Wangler
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
14,807
Astoria
Um, that's underselling things a bit.

Anyone who thinks allowing Steve Cohen to own a professional sports franchise is a good idea should watch this: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/to-catch-a-trader/

The dude is absolute poison and the fact that he's still anywhere near Wall St. is merely a reflection of what a toothless piece of shit the SEC is.
Yes, agreed. I was just trying to say that by no means is he an unfamiliar name. He's a celebrity for a lot of bad reasons.
 

mauf

Anderson Cooper x Mr. Rogers
Staff member
Dope
Yea. No question this is amazing news for Mets fans. Also, nobody knows the arrangement yet that will be finalized. Wilpons may still have titles and "control" in name but ultimately all the real decisions could fall the Cohen. Or perhaps Cohen is responsible for selecting staff, GMs, analytics teams, coaches..etc.
This was my thought as well. If the deal goes through, I’m sure there will be restrictions on the Wilpons going forward that are much more significant than whatever protections for minority investors exist in the club’s current governing documents.

The unusual arrangement might also be designed to facilitate MLB’s approval of Cohen as a majority owner. I’m sure a lot of other owners would prefer that someone else buy the Mets, but they would also like to be rid of the Wilpons and don’t want to get sued if franchise values dip in the next several years. Cohen’s willingness to do a deal most others wouldn’t makes it harder for MLB to say no.
 

bankshot1

Member
SoSH Member
Feb 12, 2003
16,825
where I was last at
I wonder if the purchase is structured that his $2b purchase to the Wilpon's (less whatever taxes) goes back to his fund to manage at 2/20 (or maybe a modest Mets discount) and they trade up from Madoff to Cohen managing their dough.

And agree on the 5-year waiting period to satisfy MLB's concern about Cohen's character etc.
 

Monbo Jumbo

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 5, 2003
24,164
the other Duluth
The FEDs have been trying to nail Steve Cohen for insider trading for years. (They did bag a couple of his subordinates.) He's the perfect owner for the sign-stealing era.
 

crow216

Dragon Wangler
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
14,807
Astoria
The FEDs have been trying to nail Steve Cohen for insider trading for years. (They did bag a couple of his subordinates.) He's the perfect owner for the sign-stealing era.
and for the Mets. Where there is drama, there are the New York Mets. They couldn't even avoid the sign-stealing debacle and they're not in the same league.
 

bankshot1

Member
SoSH Member
Feb 12, 2003
16,825
where I was last at
Does anyone know if the sale includes SNY?
From what I read its not, which seems strange as it seems the two assets, the team and TV network derive a lot of value from each other. I would assume an eventual sale (within the 5 yr period) of SNY to Cohen would addressed.

As an aside listening to WFAN, Betts to the Mets is seen as a natural extension of Cohen ownership. .
 

HowBoutDemSox

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 12, 2009
4,424
I wonder if the purchase is structured that his $2b purchase to the Wilpon's (less whatever taxes) goes back to his fund to manage at 2/20 (or maybe a modest Mets discount) and they trade up from Madoff to Cohen managing their dough.
2/20 would be a discount for Cohen; he was supposedly at 3/50 (not a typo) before his brief hiatus from managing outside capital, though now it’s a more complicated structure where he passes on come costs directly to his investors.

If anyone is interested in an account of the feds going after Cohen earlier in the decade (the initial inspiration for Billions, as noted) I recommend Black Edge by Sheelah Kolhatkar.
 

dhappy42

Straw Man
Oct 27, 2013
7,378
Michigan

InstaFace

MDLzera
SoSH Member
Sep 27, 2016
10,056
edit - it is awesome the Wilpons, ponzi scheme beneficiaries, are selling to Cohen, an inside trader who basically ran his fund like a mob boss. The criminality trickles down.
This is an understatement on both counts.

The Wilpons were sued to pay back their ill-gotten gains in 2010, almost sold the team in 2011, settled it in 2012, finally agreed to pay the balance in 2016 by deferring it with some interest (it's the Bobby Bonilla plan!), and they still have a balance of $15.2M to pay. So they've essentially gotten out of having to reckon with their ill-gotten gains for almost a decade, while paying well-below-market interest rates.

But Steve Cohen is as dirty as the day is long, and everyone on wall street knows it. He kept himself out of Federal PMITA prison, but only barely. He would make the average NFL owner look like a paragon of virtue. I find it hard to believe that Manfred thinks that's a net improvement in the Mets' ownership situation to be owned by a savvy criminal rather than an arrogant fool.

(Fun fact: Let's also remember that Cohen almost bought 49% in 2015 as part of the Wilpons' various dealings to try and avoid JP Morgan or David Einhorn from owning the team - and likely at something less than 100 cents on the dollar).

Um, that's underselling things a bit.

Anyone who thinks allowing Steve Cohen to own a professional sports franchise is a good idea should watch this: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/to-catch-a-trader/

The dude is absolute poison and the fact that he's still anywhere near Wall St. is merely a reflection of what a toothless piece of shit the SEC is.
Yep. It would actually be hard to find a worse actor in the financial system who isn't already in prison. Joseph Cassano, maybe? Probably not. In a near-zero-sum market, the billions Steve Cohen possesses have essentially been stolen from ordinary investors, who would have gotten those gains but-for Cohen making the trade first.