Steve Cohen, chairman and chief executive officer of SAC Captial Advisors LP.
Scott Eelis | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Steve Cohen is officially the owner of the New York Mets.
Major League Baseball owners approved of Cohen’s roughly $2.4 billion purchase of the team from the Wilpon Family on Friday, the league announced.
“I extend my best wishes to Fred Wilpon, Saul Katz and Jeff Wilpon and thank them for their longstanding efforts for the Mets,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement.
“On behalf of Major League Baseball, I congratulate Mr. Cohen on receiving approval from the Major League Clubs. Steve will bring his lifelong passion for the Mets to the stewardship of his hometown team, and he will be joined by highly respected baseball leadership as well. I believe that Steve will work hard to deliver a team in which Mets fan can take pride.”
With Citi Field located on public land owned by New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio needed to sign off on the sale, which he did shortly after MLB approved. The New York Post reported the city was attempting to block the sale of the team to Cohen.
“The New York City Law Department has completed its legal review of the proposed sale of the Mets,” de Blasio said in a statement. “New York City does not object to the sale, and the Mets may proceed with the transaction.”
Yoenis Cespedes of the New York Mets stands in the on deck circle in front of cardboard fans during a preseason game at Citi Field on July 18, 2020.
Al Bello | Getty Images Sport | Getty Images
Cohen’s transaction is now officially the most expensive purchase of a North American sports franchise, beating out David Tepper’s $2.2 billion acquisition of the Carolina Panthers in 2018.
Cohen controls a Mets team expected to face losses well in excess of $100 million this year and next, given the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, sources told CNBC’s David Faber.
In August, CNBC reported Cohen entered into an exclusive negotiation to purchase the Mets, beating out a group led by former Yankees star Alex Rodriguez that included signer Jennifer Lopez and Bodyarmor founder and Queens native Mike Repole. Philadelphia 76ers co-owner Josh Harris was also interested in buying the MLB team.
Cohen backed out of an original deal to purchase the Mets when the Wilpon Family attempted to operate the club after the sale. The previous deal also included unfavorable language when it came to the Mets’ regional sports network, SNY, leading Cohen to initially back out of purchasing 80% of the franchise in February.