NEW YORK (WFAN) – It’s back to the drawing board for Mets owners Fred Wilpon, Jeff Wilpon and Saul Katz.
Talks for a $200 million minority ownership stake are dead between the franchise and hedge funder David Einhorn.
“We are very confident in the team’s plans – both off and on the field,” Fred Wilpon said in a statement. “My partners and I thank David for his interest in considering this opportunity and wish him well in the future.”
Wilpon added that the Mets will “explore other options” and interested parties — some of whom were previously vetted for a stake in the team by MLB.
Richard Sandomir of The New York Times first reported the news on Thursday.
“It is clear that it will not be possible for me to consummate the transaction on the terms that the Sterling-Mets organization and I originally agreed to several months ago,” Einhorn said in a statement. “The extensive nature of changes that were proposed to me at the last minute has made a successful transaction impossible.”
A source told the New York Daily News that Einhorn “overplayed his hand.”
It was widely reported, initially by Forbes, that if the Mets found themselves unable to repay his investment within a specified time frame, Einhorn would have the option to take a controlling interest in the team for the strike price of $1.
Months after announcing his agreement in principle with the franchise, Einhorn suddenly found himself among other bidders in late July.
First, Forbes’ Mike Ozanian reported commodities trader Ray Bartoszek, the reported runner-up to Einhorn, was to visit with Wilpon to discuss “revisiting the possibility of becoming a minority owner.”
WFAN’s Mike Francesa said there were three parties bidding against the hedge funder.
The Mets and Einhorn quickly re-entered exclusive talks, only to have the ever-changing agreement end today.
“This has been a very interesting summer for me,” Einhorn, who originally called the agreement a “win-win,” said in a conference call. “I’ve learned a lot. It’s been overall a happy experience. I am disappointed that we didn’t get to a successful outcome in the transaction.”
Statement from the Mets:
The New York Mets’ Owners announced today that their period of exclusive negotiations with David Einhorn regarding a minority, non-operating interest in the Mets has expired and Ownership has decided not to extend the exclusive negotiating period any further. After months of negotiation, the parties were unable to reach agreement, and Mets Ownership has decided to explore other options.
Ownership has provided additional capital to cover all 2011 losses and is moving forward with the necessary resources to continue to operate the franchise. Ownership will explore other strategic transactions and is under no financial pressure to do a deal on any particular schedule.
“We are very confident in the team’s plans – both off and on the field,” said Mets Chairman and CEO Fred Wilpon. “We will engage with other individuals, some who have been previously vetted by Major League Baseball, along with other interested parties, regarding a potential minority investment into the franchise. My partners and I thank David for his interest in considering this opportunity and wish him well in the future.”
Statement from David Einhorn:
“I am disappointed to announce that I will not be purchasing an ownership interest in the New York Mets baseball team at this time. It is clear that it will not be possible for me to consummate the transaction on the terms that the Sterling-Mets organization and I originally agreed to several months ago. The extensive nature of changes that were proposed to me at the last minute has made a successful transaction impossible.
“I want to thank the entire Mets organization and Major League Baseball for their efforts. This experience will always be a happy memory for me because of the Mets’ fans. A good number of you have reached out to offer me encouragement. I will always be touched by the warmth that you showed me.”
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