NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — The cash-strapped Mets have a taker.

The club agreed on Thursday to sell a $200 million minority stake of the franchise to David Einhorn, president of the private investment firm Greenlight Capital, Inc.

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“We are very excited about David joining our ownership group for several reasons,” Mets owner Fred Wilpon said in a statement. “David’s investment immediately improves the franchise’s financial position. … In partnership with David, we look forward to achieving our ultimate goal of again becoming World Series champions.”

LISTEN: Jon Heyman breaks down Einhorn-Mets with Joe & Evan

“Having an opportunity to become part of the Mets franchise is exciting beyond my wildest childhood dreams,” said Einhorn. “I spent my first seven years living in New Jersey and rooting for the Mets. In 1975, I even dressed in a homemade jersey as a Met for Halloween. I have been a baseball fan for my entire life and have enjoyed teaching the game as the coach of my daughter’s little league team. I look forward to partnering with the Wilpon and Katz families through the good seasons, the tough seasons and especially the championship seasons.”

EXTRA: Coutinho: Minority Sale Good News For Mets Fans And A Lesson For Us All

The announcement would allow owners Fred and Jeff Wilpon and Saul Katz to retain control of the team. The influx of money would help pay debts and cover operating expenses.

According to WFAN’s Jon Heyman, Einhorn’s stake will be approximately 30 percent, adding the investor “is negotiating for the right to become majority owner should the Wilpons become untenable.”

Einhorn emphasized his stake was a minority one and that he wouldn’t oversee the team’s payroll or budget.

“I don’t expect to have control over any of those topics,” he said in a conference call. As for the Mets, he added: “I do expect the financial fortunes to improve over time.”

Wilpon told Sports Illustrated this week his team is “bleeding cash” and could lose up to $70 million this year.

“I’m very comfortable with the financial arrangement,” said Einhorn. “I expect to be involved with this a very long time.”

“I can’t really say I have any particular concerns,” he said.

Einhorn didn’t speculate whether he would eventually put more of his money into the Mets.

“This is the transaction,” he said. “What happens beyond that we’ll have to take care of down the line.”

The agreement between the Mets and Einhorn doesn’t include a piece of SNY, the television network owned by the Mets.

The Mets said Einhorn will be a “preferred partner” and have a “nonoperating investment” in the team. The club said the deal is subject to the “negotiation of a mutually acceptable definitive agreement” and is expected to be completed next month. Major League Baseball must give its approval.

Einhorn said he first met Fred Wilpon during this sale process. Einhorn has long known Bud Selig, having moved to the baseball commissioner’s hometown of Milwaukee when he was a boy.

Einhorn said his best childhood friend lived next door to the Selig family. When he played ball at his pal’s house, Einhorn recalled, “if we hit it very, very far it went into the Seligs’ yard.”

According to Business Insider, Einhorn even belted out a familiar refrain during an investor conference on Wednesday.

“After Einhorn finished his presentation, he began to walk off the stage,” wrote BI’s Katya Wachtel. “Then he suddenly turned around, and walked back to the microphone and said, ‘one more thing … GO METS!‘”

Recently, Forbes magazine estimated the value of the Mets had dropped 13 percent in one year to $747 million — and that was before the team’s projected losses this season. The Mets also received a reported $25 million loan from MLB in November to help cover expenses.

The current owners are facing a multimillion dollar lawsuit filed by a court trustee seeking to recover money for victims of the Madoff Ponzi scheme.

“I hope this is a good sign,” Mets manager Terry Collins said before the Mets’ road game against the Chicago Cubs. “And certainly I’m very happy that this helps Fred and makes things run smoother. I’m excited for him.”

The Mets were under .500 going into the series finale in Chicago. Collins said he hoped the latest financial development could stabilize things.

“Any time you can eliminate questions that you have nothing to do with, it always helps,” he said. “All that stuff is outside the lines and we have no control over it, we have no say in it, we have nothing to do with it.”

Wilpon has spoken out lately about his star players, criticizing David Wright, Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran in a profile of the owner in The New Yorker.

After a loss in April to the Houston Astros dropped his club to 5-13, Wilpon disparaged the Mets’ play, called the franchise “snakebitten,” and went off on three of his top players.

—On the oft-injured Reyes, Wilpon said: “He thinks he’s going to get Carl Crawford money. He’s had everything wrong with him. He won’t get it.” Crawford signed a $142 million, seven-year deal with the Boston Red Sox last winter.

—On Beltran: “He’s 65 to 70 percent of what he was.”

—On Wright, a five-time All-Star third baseman and the face of the franchise: “A really good kid. A very good player. Not a superstar.”

The players’ reaction was low-key, with outfielder Jason Bay summing it up best.

“Obviously, there’s a lot more factors going on here than just an owner of a baseball team,” he said. “There’s a lot of things that we don’t even know about, so I can’t pretend to know and then pretend to speculate on what’s going to happen.”

Full statement from the Mets:

The New York Mets today announced that David Einhorn has been selected as the team’s preferred partner and that the Mets and Mr. Einhorn have entered into exclusive negotiations with respect to a minority, non-operating investment in the team. The $200 million personal investment by Mr. Einhorn is subject to the negotiation of a mutually acceptable definitive agreement for the transaction, as well as required approvals by Major League Baseball. The parties expect to enter into definitive agreements by late June.

“We are very excited about David joining our ownership group for several reasons,” said Fred Wilpon, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, New York Mets. “David’s investment immediately improves the franchise’s financial position. Equally important, David’s intelligence, integrity and success in both business and civic affairs provides us with another perspective in evaluating what is best for this organization and our fans, and we welcome his input. In partnership with David, we look forward to achieving our ultimate goal of again becoming World Series champions.”

Mr. Einhorn stated, “Having an opportunity to become part of the Mets franchise is exciting beyond my wildest childhood dreams. I spent my first seven years living in New Jersey and rooting for the Mets. In 1975, I even dressed in a homemade jersey as a Met for Halloween. I have been a baseball fan for my entire life and have enjoyed teaching the game as the coach of my daughter’s little league team. I look forward to partnering with the Wilpon and Katz families through the good seasons, the tough seasons and especially the championship seasons.”

Mr. Einhorn is President of Greenlight Capital, Inc., a private investment firm which he co-founded in January 1996, and is Chairman of the Board of Greenlight Capital Re, Ltd. Along with his wife, Mr. Einhorn formed the Einhorn Family Charitable Trust, whose mission is to help people get along better. He also serves on the Board of Directors of The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research and the Robin Hood Foundation.

Mets fans: Are you excited about Einhorn? Sound off 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.)

Comments (31)
  1. p says:,,, & .

  2. Paul D. says:

    Hey McQueen, you ain’t no Steve, anyway, lighten up. That’s Gordon Geko over there dismantling Blue Star. What was it he said? Oh, yeah… “a fool and his money are lucky to ever get together in the first place.”
    As for you, I strongly suggest trying the various decafeinated brands. Most are as tasty as the real thing.

  3. MEET THE WALLET! says:

    Get Someone in the Driver’s Seat……this is just a short term fix….

  4. geronimo says:

    McQueen–all you are is a Queen..

  5. Paul D. says:

    What a disaster. Another lost season. What a jioke. I wanna say from the outset that I’m not a Met fan. Never was, never wll be. But I am a baseball fan, And when I look at this franchise, I just wanna cringe. I vacillate between disgust and pity. But I also laugh. You have to laugh. The Wilpons probably loath George Steinbrenner and his brood. You would probably find punching bags inside their homes with the Yankee logo crudely pasted on the fronts. Also dartboards with George’s face on them. I also laugh when I think about how Hank and Hal are probably integral parts of their nightmares, the ones they wake up from, in the middle of the night, in a cold sweat only to raelize….
    that they weren’t just dreams. Ha,ha,ha,ha.

  6. A little perspective says:

    Wilpon has his faults just like any man. Maybe he exercised bad tact in his outburst to that writer. But think if “he didnt give a damn about this team” he wouldn’t get this upset about the lackluster performance by the mets of late. Instead of being a stoic owner, he had an outburst that resembled a fan…condem him for life I guess

    There is a distinct underlying mistrust the american public have with anybody working near the fianncial market…don;t hold it against this guy. Wilpon may seem to be a greedy old man if you isolate individual actions. I do know he was key in the formation of MLB’s Welcome Back Veterans program. Offers all kinds of benefits to those serving/ have served this country including free tickets. Sorry for the rant, but that seems like a man that can embrace things that are bigger than himself.

  7. Vincent says:

    Beato, Mish Mashed In Chicago. Check out Lori Martini sing Mets new theme song “Believe” featuring Nick Javas at Citi Field tomorrow night before the National Anthem.

  8. william horn says:

    schmuck: now what can I say, what will you do to reverse the mess you now find yourself in. after years of this parade of tomato cans we the paying folks had to endure, the contracts some schmuck signed what to do oy vey. dont sell low dont buy high use your buisness smarts and translate what you know into what will reverse this mess it works all the time.

  9. Ventura says:

    Finkel is Einhorn, Einhorn Is Finkel

  10. Hoggman says:

    Great…a poker playin hat backwards wearing Wall Street madman. No problem there folks.

  11. dabooch says:

    When you dole up two hundred million they call you Mr. If you contribute $ 125 by attending one game you are a patron. (Francesa math= 200,000 fans equals $25,000,000). If you sit back and take it all in, assimilate it, and then comment, you are considered a HIT on the Web Sight, in advertisers pay the corporation, CBS.

  12. A says:

    A Wall streeter, great.

  13. dd says:

    who would buy the team without getting a part of SNY–they are worth more than the mets

  14. AJM says:

    He killed Lehman Brothers…he’s gonna kill the Mets

  15. keith says:

    Anything to improve this team and with the money they can sign some good or current players for next year. This will definitely help the team. I’ve been a met fan for a long time how could this ever be a bad move? Let’s hope for the best!

    1. Things that make you say, hummmmm says:

      Einhorn grew up next door to Selig. Selig is Wilpon’s buddy, Einhorn is the Mets stake winner.

      Baseball takes over the Dodgers but not the Mets who have a more serious money problem.

      This is not a coincidence Einhorn is now a partner, but will be more of a silence partner in this deal.

      Something is in the mist and it’s not good.

  16. McQueen says:

    I love the way the morons on here who know nothing about anything, much less investing, are so qualified to evaluate the wisdom of Einhorn’s investment in the Mets. And since when does the fact that he made money investing make him a crook. And of course the Jew-haters have to chime in too.

    1. Kevin says:

      Mr. McQeen,
      Einhorn is in it to tear the Mets infrastructure apart into many pieces and then to sell at a profit. He loves this doom and gloom approach. The 2012 payroll will be equal to that of the high school administration of Peekskill, NY.

    2. Madison says:

      McQueeny, I’ve read what the people have posted, some sound upset, disappointed, maybe angry, but no one has written a word of hate, the word Jew or anything referring to the people.

      You’re the first and only idiot who has.

      The moron here is you. You’re not too bright are you? It seems you don’t know much of anything, just hate.

    3. Josh Goldberg says:

      Your name is not McQueen.

  17. Kevin says:

    Just great. Another short seller market manipulator who uses a hedge fund as a personal ATM is now a Mets owner. Just great.

  18. Eric Soley says:

    Anything that can help the club, financially!

  19. Kevin says:

    Why would he put money into a sinking ship?

  20. Chris says:

    HE is negotiating for a majority part if the Wilpons and Katz have to remove themselves, it says that right in the article. Also, since all the potential investors were vetted by MLB, if this guy was the least bit crooked, they would not have let it get this far. Good for him, a self made millionaire buying a stake in the team.

  21. Jersey Joe says:

    What happened Mets fools? Wilpon did not hear your cries, bitc*ing & whining in selling the team to Cuba or Trump.

    Did you really think he would? Only in Muttville would fans think they can tell an owner what to do & the owner would do it.

    1. Grandpa Joe says:

      You’re absolutely right, owners like Wilpon and his idiot son are just arrogant and condescending money-grubbin morons who only see fans as human ATMs who’s only purpose is to auto-pilot purchase $150 seats, $50 t-shirts, $12 beers and $8 hot dogs, but have no interest whatsoever in their input about player personnel, or anything else team related etc. It is what it is.

  22. jonny says:

    It’s a start. The team needs cash and the guy has it. let’s give him a chance and see what happens.

  23. joe says:

    David Einhorn is a Wall St criminal.
    Can’t the Mets have an owner who is not a crook.
    It all the limelight for these narcissist, they care little for the game.
    The fans deserve better.

  24. Joe says:

    My poor Mets.
    I was hoping Wilpon would sell the team. Do the right thing.
    Anyone who is friends with Madoff cannot be trusted.
    I hope the Mets continue to lose money for Wilpon.
    The Mets need a smart honest owner, who cares about the players.

  25. glenn says:

    I wish he would have bought the whole thing.

  26. Rugbyball says:

    a fool and his money soon parted…

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