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SBD/September 2, 2011/Franchises
Mets Looking To Sell Smaller Stakes After Einhorn's Investment Falls Through
Published September 2, 2011
THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM: Scaramucci, who previously expressed interest in a minority stake in the Mets, said the Wilpons and Katz "never wanted to give up control of that organization ... (and) my guess is that David wanted more than just to be a passive owner of that team say over a five or ten-year period of time." He added, "I think that's really where the strugle was" ("Strategy Session," CNBC, 9/1). In N.Y., DeCambre, Venezia & Whitehouse note the Wilpons and Katz "worried" that the proposed deal with Einhorn could eventually give him control of the team. One of the "major sticking points was a provision that would have allowed him to acquire a controlling stake in the team if he wasn't repaid his investment in five years." He said MLB Commissioner Bud Selig "assured me this should be no problem." Einhorn said that the deal he "thought was finalized in May started breaking down late last week when the Mets owners made 'extensive' last-minute changes." Einhorn added, "I didn't hear another word about it until late last week. ... I was surprised. I was very surprised." Einhorn indicated that the Mets "jerked him around starting in July, when he allowed the exclusive negotiation period to expire in good faith -- with the assumption that they were on firm footing." He said, "I received repeated assurances by the Mets' investment bankers that we had a deal" (N.Y. POST, 9/2). Fred Wilpon disputed Einhorn's assertions, saying, "We did not make any changes in the agreement or lobby against anything." In N.Y., Richard Sandomir notes talks broke down, in part, over Einhorn's "desire to be preapproved by Major League Baseball as the team's majority owner in anticipation that he might be able to buy more than 50 percent of the team in coming years." In addition, Einhorn reportedly was "seeking considerable input as a limited partner, which also may have factored in the talks' breakdown" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/2). Einhorn Thursday said further negotiations with the Wilpons would be "pointless" (CBSSPORTS.com, 9/1).