Billionaire hedge-fund manager Steven Cohen of SAC Capital Advisors, who is among the bidders for Major League Baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers, is close to buying a $20 million stake in the New York Mets, a person with direct knowledge of the situation said.
The piece in the cash-strapped Mets wouldn’t bar Cohen from owning the Dodgers, who are being sold in an auction by Frank McCourt, said the person, who was granted anonymity because no one is authorized to discuss either sale publicly.
Should Cohen, 55, get the Dodgers, the person said, he would over time divest his stake in the Mets, who lost $70 million last season. Cohen’s net worth is $8 billion, according to Forbes.
Cohen’s investment in the Mets might give him an advantage over others should the National League team be put up for sale, the person said.
The Mets and Jonathan Gasthalter, a spokesman for Cohen, declined to comment on a possible share sale. The pending deal was reported earlier today by the Los Angeles Times.
Mets owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz are trying to raise $200 million by selling 10 minority shares of the club, which must repay a $40 million loan to Bank of America and a $25 million loan to baseball.
Wilpon and Katz also face $386 million in liability related to the Ponzi scheme run by Bernard Madoff. Last month they asked a judge to dismiss the claims brought by the trustee liquidating Madoff’s company, saying their early faith in Madoff was well-founded because of his reputation.
The Mets finished last season with a 77-85 record, and during the offseason lost All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes to the Miami Marlins as a free agent.
Cohen is among those bidding on the Dodgers who advanced past the first round of cuts. Beginning today, prospective buyers will meet with team executives in order to get more detailed financial information about the club, which could fetch a record $1.5 billion.
Baseball approved Cohen as a bidder for the Dodgers, even though SAC Capital’s records have been subpoenaed as part of a federal investigation in which two former employees have been charged with insider trading. No charges have been filed against Cohen or the company.