SBD/May 2, 2011/Franchises

Top Mets Bid Could Ultimately Lead To Control If Wilpons Change Stance

Wilpons have given no indication that they will surrender majority control
The bidder "selected to become a minority partner in the Mets would likely be positioned to become the majority owner should the Wilpon family change its stance and cede control of the team," according to sources cited by Steven Marcus of NEWSDAY. There still are "no immediate signals that Fred Wilpon and his family are willing to sell a controlling interest." But a source said, "It is certainly often the case that if a controlling partner sells, the first person he turns to is his large minority partner." Another source noted that this "is also the expectation" of MLB (NEWSDAY, 5/1). Glaceau co-Founder Mike Repole on Saturday reiterated that he would consider a bid for the Mets only if it involved majority ownership. Repole: "If the Wilpons ever decided they wanted or they had to sell the Mets 100 percent, I would be interested in becoming a managing partner and possibly making a run to buy them. But as a minority owner, whether you buy one or 49 percent, there really isn’t a difference. For $200 million, it might be cheaper just to buy season tickets" (N.Y. POST, 5/1). Meanwhile, sources indicated that the Mets are "likely to raise their own motions to dismiss" Madoff trustee Irving Picard's suit "by questioning his standing and arguing that clients of brokerage firms have a safe harbor from pursuit of certain claims in bankruptcy court" (N.Y. POST, 5/2).

TALE OF TWO CITIES: In N.Y., Richard Sandomir wrote MLB Commissioner Bud Selig's "approaches to the Mets and the Dodgers reflect the breadth of his powers -- he can do what he deems necessary to enforce baseball’s 'best interests' as he sees them -- and his ties to the owners." Selig and Fred Wilpon "have been friends for 30 years," while Dodgers Owner Frank McCourt "arrived in baseball in 2004 but has never pierced the inner sanctum around Selig." Sandomir: "Selig appears to regard Wilpon as a trustworthy, solid citizen, but McCourt as a problem child in need of adult supervision" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/1). In S.F., Scott Ostler writes under the header, "Stated Reasons Don't Justify L.A. Takeover." Ostler: "I'm no lawyer, but Selig is on extremely shaky legal ground here." His reasoning "seems to indicate a vague, selective and somewhat emotional criterion for taking over a team" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 5/2).
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New York Mets, Franchises, Baseball

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