SBD/April 18, 2011/Franchises

Two Groups Reportedly Drop Out Of Bidding For Minority Stake In Mets

Two bid groups reportedly are dropping out of race for Mets
Two of the three groups “considered leading contenders” to buy a minority stake in the Mets “appear to have bowed out of the competition,” according to Kosman & Robbins of the N.Y. POST. Sources said that a group led by BTIG co-Founder Steve Starker and Marquis Jet co-Founder Ken Dichter, and a second bidding group including SkyBridge Capital Managing Partner Anthony Scaramucci and 1-800-Flowers.com Founder James McCann, “have both walked off the field.” The third and “only other bidder” is SAC Capital Advisors Founder Steve Cohen. Mets co-Owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz this week are “expected to ask all three groups -- along with any late entrants into the field -- to make binding proposals.” The team, which “needs a cash infusion to fund operations, is believed to be looking for” $200M for up to 49% of the team. Sources said that Mets owners “have recently made clear they will not give veto rights or any other power to minority owners.” Sources added that Cohen “expressed interest in buying the Mets minority stake and sought permission to buy some of the team's bank debt from a JPMorgan-led lending group.” Owning debt “would allow him to repossess the team if it fell into extreme financial distress.” But a source said that the Mets, like “all other baseball teams, need to approve trading in its loans, and the Mets have told Cohen they will not allow him to buy the loans” (N.Y. POST, 4/16). In N.Y., Richard Sandomir provides a look at the supposed bidders (N.Y. TIMES, 4/17).

WHEN IT RAINS, IT POURS: In N.Y., Andy Martino noted inclimate weather in Atlanta Friday night forced the Mets and Braves to play a doubleheader on Saturday, the Mets' second in three days, and as a result team officials called MLB to "register their displeasure about the twin bill" at Turner Field. MLB rules “allow the home team to decide how to reschedule a rainout.” The Mets “make two more trips to Atlanta this year, and would have preferred to have made up” Friday night's game at a later date (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 4/16).
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