Mets: Minority Ownership Deal With David Einhorn Is Dead

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.”

Are you shocked by the news? Be heard in the comments below…

Comments

One Comment

  1. A says:

    Is M. Donald Grant working for the Mets again?

  2. BUILDINGFINDER says:

    The Wilpons should stick to what they know and baseball ain’t it. This organization hasn’t been the same since Doubleday sold out. By the time they and Alderson get done with this team, it will be reduced to triple A. The roster will be made up of prospects, over-the-hill players and basically anybody that can be bought cheep.

  3. Ernie Delli Santi says:

    I think this is a bit of the Wilpons thinking they may only have to pony up $300 million to Picard and playing hardball with Einhorn. A very dangerous game if you ask me, but they have been a bit arrogant about this.

  4. Will from Staten Island says:

    This is a joke. Only when the front office situation is straightened out can a competitive and championship caliber team be assembled. This guy wanted to take over ownership of the team. Are you kidding me? Haven’t the Wilpon’s ever seen a movie before with a power engulfing insect? Please! You had to see this one coming.

  5. LOl, LOL, LOL says:

    Not surprise by this. This means no money, which they had big money issues even if this deal would have worked out & let’s not forget the Mets still have the Madoff problem

    But this also means no Reyes back, Wright will be traded & when Santana comes back & if healthy, traded as well.

    This was the plan anyway in lowering the payroll; get rid of all the high price players.

    Mets are becoming the Royals of the NL.

    I would hate to be a Mets fan right now, hell, I would hate to be a Mets fan at any time.

  6. Martin Cruz says:

    More bad news for the Mets! What happens next? My hope now is that the Wilpons will be forced to sell the franchise because they sure as f*$@ they will not be able to resign Jose Reyes (or anyone else for that matter) during free agency time.

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