NEW YORK (WFAN) — The minority ownership deal between the Mets and David Einhorn has taken so long that last week, after the June 30 exclusivity deadline had passed, three other bidders reportedly joined the fray — temporarily.
A deal still isn’t done, though the Mets are back in exclusive talks with Einhorn.
So what’s taking so long? According to the New York Post, the delay is “because lender JPMorgan Chase is not letting the team structure the deal as a loan.”
“JPMorgan Chase, which is owed about $500 million by the team, won’t approve such a deal unless its loans get serviced — repaid or restructured — prior to Einhorn,” the paper reported.
Nearly two months after announcing a $200 million agreement in principle with the franchise, Einhorn suddenly found himself among other bidders last week.
First, Forbes’ Mike Ozanian reported commodities trader Ray Bartoszek, the reported runner-up to Einhorn, was to visit with Mets owner Fred 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.
“We are in exclusive negotiations with David Einhorn,” the team replied in a statement last Wednesday, “and continue to have positive and productive discussions regarding David’s ongoing interest in an investment in the Mets.”
One source told the New York Daily News: “(Einhorn) thought he had them over a barrel.”
What barrel? It could be an alleged clause in the agreement that would potentially give Einhorn control of the Mets for $1. Yep, a buck.
Forbes reported last month that if the Mets’ embattled owners — Wilpon, his son Jeff and Saul Katz — don’t repay Einhorn’s investment within three years, the hedge funder could up his ownership stake to 60 percent for the “strike price” of $1.
“If my source is correct,” Ozanian wrote yesterday, “the implication is that Wilpon is looking to replace Einhorn with someone he can cut a more favorable deal.”
If the Mets pay Einhorn back his investment, he would still reportedly own one-sixth of the franchise — if they ever ink a pact.
When will an Einhorn-Mets deal get done? Sound off below…