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Mets

Report: Mets, Wilpons Cut Ownership Search To 8

Owner Fred Wilpon (L) and his son, Jeff Wilpon, of the Mets (credit: Marc Serota/Getty Images)

Owner Fred Wilpon (L) and his son, Jeff Wilpon, of the Mets (credit: Marc Serota/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK SPORTS HEADLINES

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NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) – By now we all know the Mets’ owners, hounded by a multimillion dollar lawsuit filed by the trustee trying to recover money for victims of the Bernard Madoff scheme, are trying to sell a portion of the franchise.

According to the New York Daily News, the Wilpons and Saul Katz are one step closer.

They have reportedly narrowed their search to eight groups previously approved by MLB, and the decision is “now in the hands of the Mets’ owners.”

Said the Daily News’ source: “Now they’ll decide who gets to Round Two. … They are very happy with the numbers they’re seeing. There’s a range – the low end is marginally acceptable and the high end is very acceptable.”

“A leading sports-investment banker told the Daily News last week that there are no shortage of interest investors for the club,” added the paper, “which is valued by some as high as $1 billion.”

In March, the New York Times reported the Mets are seeking $200 million for a minority portion of the team. That could add up to as much as a 40 percent share of the club.

Last month, Forbes announced the Mets lost 13 percent of their worth amid legal and debt problems. Listed by the publication at $858 million last year, the franchise is now valued at $747 million.

The Mets announced in January they were looking to sell a non-controlling interest in the team of 20 to 25 percent to raise several hundred million dollars. Wilpon insisted then — and insists now — his family would remain in control of the team.

Some of the contenders approved by MLB include: Jason Reese, the chairman of Imperial Capital, a Los Angeles-based investment bank.

David Heller, a Goldman Sachs executive, along with Marc Spilker, the president of Apollo Global Management, a private equity fund.

Steven Starker, a co-founder of BTIG, a global trading firm, with Kenny Dichter, a co-founder of Marquis Jets; Doug Ellin, creator of HBO’s “Entourage”; and Randy Frankel, a minority owner of the Tampa Bay Rays.

James McCann, the founder of 1-800-Flowers.com, with Anthony Scaramucci, who runs the hedge firm SkyBridge Capital.

Marc A. Utay, managing partner of Clarion Capital, a private equity firm, and Leo Hindery, the first chief executive of the YES Network and a veteran media investor.

Which group are you rooting for? Let us know in the comments below…

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)