SBD/April 13, 2011/Franchises

Two Groups Reportedly Out Of Running For Mets Stake; Cohen May Be Preferred Bidder

Mets reportedly have narrowed list of potential minority partners to three
Mets co-Owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz, "after soliciting a range of bids, have narrowed their list of potential partners to three," and SAC Capital Advisors Founder Steve Cohen is "again in the mix, perhaps even the preferred bidder," according to sources cited by Sandomir & Lattman of the N.Y. TIMES. It "surprises no one that Cohen, with a net worth valued at $8 billion, might be interested in the Mets," though it is "of some surprise to people who know him that he might be seriously interested in a minority stake, one that would not give him control over the team's operations and finances and performance." A source said that Cohen's competitors include a group formed by Skybridge Capital Managing Partner Anthony Scaramucci and 1-800-Flowers.com Founder & Chair James McCann. Several groups are "out of the bidding," including one formed by Goldman Sachs Global Securities Division co-Head David Heller and Apollo Global Management President Marc Spilker, and another comprised of former YES Network Chair & CEO Leo Hindery and Clarion Capital Partners Managing Partner Marc Utay. The status of a third group, led by BTIG co-Founder Steve Starker, "could not be confirmed" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/13).

TOUGH SELL: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Smith & Futterman note the Mets "played their home opener Friday in front of a near-sellout crowd" of 41,075 at Citi Field, but since then the team "has averaged 30,600 fans, below last year's average of 31,600 when the Mets led Major League Baseball in attendance declines." That makes it "tougher for the team to regain profitability and command an attractive price for the minority stake" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 4/13).
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