The New York Mets struggled to a 26-34 record during the COVID-19-shortened season. The outing marked the fourth consecutive season that the organization failed to reach the postseason, and now it will embark on a new era. Hedge fund mogul Steve Cohen has been approved to purchase the Mets.
Cohen received the necessary 75% of MLB owners' vote on Friday, approving the purchase after previously reaching an agreement to purchase the team for $2.4 billion. He will now take over control of the team from the Fred Wilpon family and his brother-in-law, Saul Katz, to become Mets majority owner. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio later signed off on the deal.
According to Deadline, Cohen is now the richest owner in MLB. He has an estimated $14 billion that he could use to improve the fortunes of the franchise. Cohen previously held a minority stake in the team, but now he owns 95%. The Wilpons will continue to hold a small stake in the team and the majority interest in the SportsNet New York network. This joint venture with Charter Communications holds the rights to televise Mets games.
"I am humbled that MLB’s owners have approved me to be the next owner of the New York Mets," Cohen said in a statement. "Owning a team is a great privilege and an awesome responsibility. I would like to thank the owners and Commissioner Manfred and his team for welcoming me to Major League Baseball. And I want to thank Fred Wilpon for inviting me to buy into the franchise in 2012. Fred is one of the game’s true gentlemen and I consider it an honor to be the new owner of this iconic franchise.
"Most of all, I’d like to thank Mets fans for their unwavering support throughout this process," Cohen continued. "My family and I are lifelong Mets fans, so we’re really excited about this. With free agency starting Sunday night we will be working towards a quick close. Let’s go Mets!"
The sale has not closed just yet, but the expectation is that it will happen in the next 10 days. The season just came to an end with the Los Angeles Dodgers winning the World Series, and free agency will soon start. Cohen and the Mets will have considerable work to get the team ready to compete.
Along with the announcement that he is purchasing the team, Cohen also unveiled plans for the immediate future. He said he would donate $17.5 million to New York small businesses. He will also increase the donations of the Mets Foundation in the coming years. Finally, Cohen said that he would reinstitute pre-pandemic salaries for the team's employees.