SBD/Issue 144/Franchises

First Estimate Values Mets At $450M, Irking Both Co-Owners

The initial report from an independent appraiser estimating the value of the Mets has been filed, and the value of the franchise "has been established in the neighborhood" of $450M, according to baseball execs familiar with the findings cited by Waldstein & Rocca of the Newark STAR-LEDGER, who write it is a figure Mets co-Owners Nelson Doubleday and Fred Wilpon "dispute is either too high or too low." Reps of Doubleday, whose 50% share Wilpon is looking to buy, are said to be "appalled that the value is so low and have disputed it." Other people say Wilpon is also "unsatisfied with the findings because the price is too high and he has called into question some aspects of it as well." Waldstein & Rocca write, "Considering that Cablevision [Chair] Charles Dolan offered $500[M] for the team, that Forbes magazine estimated the value at $482[M] and the Yankees at about $730[M], the $450[M] figure appears low." All that remains for Wilpon to become sole owner of the team is for payments to begin. But "there was some concern whether the process had stalled again, and when and if Wilpon will begin making the payments." A person indirectly involved in the negotiations said that MLB Commissioner Bud Selig "had asked Doubleday if Wilpon could come up with the money." Doubleday "would not say if Selig had asked him about the sale, but seemed a little surprised the process had dragged on as long as it has." Doubleday: "I don't know if it's going to happen or not. I can't say it will, and I can't say it won't." People close to Wilpon say there is "100 percent certainty" that the sale will be completed though it may take several more weeks (STAR-LEDGER, 4/16).

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