ORLANDO, Fla. — Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred says talks have ended over the proposed sale of a controlling share of the New York Mets from the families of Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz to hedge fund manager Steven Cohen.
The Mets said Dec. 4 the contemplated deal between Sterling Partners and Cohen would have allowed 83-year-old Fred Wilpon to remain as controlling owner and chief executive officer for five years. His son Jeff would remain as chief operating officer.
“There is not going to be a transaction,” Manfred said at the end of an owners’ meeting. “I can tell you, and it’s based on conversations with the buyer and the seller on an ongoing basis, the assertion that the transaction fell apart because of something the Wilpons did is completely and utterly unfair.”
Cohen bought an 8% limited partnership stake in 2012 for $40 million. The deal under discussion would have seen him acquire an 80% controlling share in a transaction that values the team at $2.6 billion.
Wilpon repeatedly declined comment at the MLB meetings this week. After Manfred’s remarks, spokesmen for the Mets and Cohen declined comment.
Manfred would not speculate whether the deal could be resurrected.