SBD/April 1, 2011/MLB Season Preview

Making Progress: At Least Two Minority Bids For Mets Have Been Submitted

At least two bids for minority shares of the Mets, without any option to assume control for the team, have been submitted to the team’s investment banker, Allen & Co., a key source said. Allen & Co. declined to comment. With the market rife with talk for weeks that the Mets would not be able to sell a minority share in the team, especially one not tied to the club’s RSN SportsNet N.Y., the team has received such bids. However, whether they are for the amount embattled Mets Owner Fred Wilpon is looking for, this source would not say. Financial sources said Wilpon had in recent days agreed conceptually to a deal that might include pathway to control, but this source said that decision has not been made. Wilpon, an investor with Bernie Madoff, is being sued by the bankruptcy trustee in that case for more than $1B in ill-gotten gains. Allen & Co. has 10-12 active bidders it is dealing with. This source said that the process should be finished in the next week, and a decision will be made soon after. It is possible if one of those bidders unsolicited offered a significant sum for control, and a much smaller offer for a minority share, then Wilpon might evaluate that, this source said. Wilpon has been looking to raise $200M in the sale of the minority interest and by all accounts does not want to give up control (Daniel Kaplan, SportsBusiness Journal).

TURTLE WAX: In N.Y., Michael O’Keeffe reports a group of bidders for a minority share of the Mets that includes "Entourage" Exec Producer Doug Ellin “has star power.” Sources said that if the group can reach a deal with the Wilpon family to buy a share in the club, Ellin “will enlist actors Kevin Connolly, Kevin Dillon and Ed Burns to bring their star power to Citi Field.” Connolly said that the actors “are willing to do whatever Ellin and his partners ask them if the group purchases a stake in the Mets” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 4/1).
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