Latest on Mets' sale to Steve Cohen: Bill de Blasio has 'no objections,' says transaction can proceed

Danny Abriano
·22 min read
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio

Oct. 30, 2:21 p.m.

New York City mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted the following shortly after the sale to Cohen was approved by MLB owners.

"The New York City Law Department has completed its legal review of the proposed sale of the @Mets. New York City has no objections and the Mets can now proceed with the transaction.
#LGM"

Oct. 30, 2:09 p.m.

The sale of the Mets to Steve Cohen was approved by MLB owners in a vote on Friday, SNY's Andy Martino reported.

Oct. 30, 1:33 p.m.

Indications are that the approval process by Mayor Bill de Blasio is "coming along," SNY's Andy Martino reported, adding that an announcement could come in short order, with the expectation being that it will be good news for the sale.

Asked earlier Friday about the situation, de Blasio reiterated that the legal review of Cohen the city is conducting is not personal.

As far as when there could be a resolution, de Blasio said "very soon," per Newsday's Tim Healey, adding that "real soon means real soon."

Oct. 29, 11:29 a.m.

Asked on Thursday to weigh in on the legal review the city is engaged in over the pending sale of the Mets to Steve Cohen, Mayor Bill de Blasio said it isn't "personal."

"It's our land," he said, according to Julia Marsh of the New York Post. "There is a legal requirement that if there's an ownership change it has to be evaluated. ... Some folks are trying to ascribe it to personal feelings. It's not."

When asked his personal opinion of Cohen, de Blasio told Marsh it wasn't appropriate to comment.

"When we're in the middle of a legal review it's not appropriate to be commenting on the people involved," he said, refusing to say whether a decision would come before Friday.

Oct. 28, 8:56 p.m.

Sources tell SNY Insider Andy Martino that Mayor Bill de Blasio recently called the commissioner’s office and informed Rob Manfred of his opposition to the sale.

Despite that, parties involved in the sale continue to believe that the mayor will ultimately approve. 

Cohen will still be approved in a vote on Friday of MLB owners, sources tell Martino, but the sale can’t close until de Blasio signs off.

Oct. 28, 12:52 p.m.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters on Wednesday that the city's law department was still doing its "due diligence" on the potential transfer of ownership to Steve Cohen, adding that an announcement will be happening "at some point in the next few days."

SNY's Andy Martino said after de Blasio's most recent comments that "there is a sense" the situation is being worked on and dealt with.

Martino added that "parties involved on all sides of the sale have been working to figure out what would satisfy the mayor. They have a feel for what it is and are in process."

While the de Blasio situation could potentially delay things, it is not expected to prevent the sale.

Oct. 27, 5:57 p.m.

MLB owners will vote on Steve Cohen's purchase of the Mets late this week. 

As SNY MLB Insider Andy Martino has previously reported, Cohen has the necessary votes to approve his ownership (23 of the 30 owners must vote yes). 

Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf is widely expected to vote no on Cohen, and could bring three or four owners along with him, Martino has noted, but beyond that potential coalition, owners plan to support Cohen’s plan.

Oct. 26, 12:22 p.m.

Steve Cohen has the 23 votes required to approve his purchase of the Mets, according to SNY's Andy Martino, who reports that  If New York City mayor Bill de Blasio moved to kill the deal, the group led by Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez would not have the votes.

League officials still do not believe that de Blasio will block the deal, according to Martino.

People familiar with the sale process told Martino that Rodriguez and Lopez, who finished second in the bidding for Cohen, are not well-positioned to jump back in, with Martino adding that "sources firmly believe that owners would not approve that group."

Oct. 21, 10:58 a.m.

According to SNY's Andy Martino, there does not appear to be any momentum toward Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf being able to convince other owners to vote no on Cohen and "create a real problem."

The above question has concerned people involved in the sale, and there is less concern now than there was a few weeks ago, reports Martino.

Per Martino, there are other owners who do not like the idea of Cohen buying the Mets, and who wish it had gone to a bidder other than he or Alex Rodriguez. But it’s probably not a strong enough feeling to result in no votes for many.

Oct. 20, 1:34 p.m.

Steve Cohen's bid to purchase the Mets has been approved by the MLB Ownership Committee, reports Scott Soshnick of Sportico, who says that approval all but assures that Cohen will become the next owner of the team.

According to Soshnick, the next step in the process is a review by the commissioner's Executive Council, which would be followed by a final vote by the owners.

SNY's Andy Martino reported earlier Tuesday that Major League Baseball had not yet set a date or time for the final vote on whether to approve Cohen's purchase of the Mets.

Per Martino, the expectation remains that the vote is on track to occur shortly after the World Series, with Cohen expected to be approved despite resistance from some owners.

Oct. 17, 1:40 p.m.

According to Ken Davidoff of The New York Post, Steve Cohen met virtually with the Ownership Committee about two weeks ago. His "ingratiation into the ownership fraternity has proceeded smoothly, according to multiple industry sources," Davidoff said.

Once that committee signs off on the purchase, the Executive Council will do the same, followed by a team-by-team vote. The vote could occur as soon as a week after the conclusion of the World Series.

Oct. 10, 3:49 p.m.

According to Charles Gasparino of FOX Business, an MLB ownership committee made up of about half a dozen of the league’s owners discussed Steve Cohen’s pending acquisition of the Mets with “no major objections.”

Cohen will need 23 of 30 MLB team owners to approve his purchase of the team, with the voting expected to take place very soon after the 2020 World Series ends.

As SNY's Andy Martino has previously reported, most baseball executives surveyed believe that MLB owners will ultimately vote to approve Cohen as principal owner and control person of the Mets.

Sept. 15, 5:55 p.m.

Sterling Partners have already announced that Steve Cohen is in agreement to purchase the Mets, but the group led by Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez is still standing by in case the transaction is not approved by other MLB owners.

Charles Gasparino of Fox Business reports that the A-Rod/J-Lo group has said they will match Cohen's offer without a negotiation should Cohen not be approved by MLB owners. 

As SNY's Andy Martino reports, most baseball executives surveyed believe that MLB owners will ultimately vote to approve Cohen (who needs 23 of the other 29 owners' votes) as principal owner and control person of the Mets.

Cohen's approval by owners is not quite a foregone conclusion, though, with sources telling Martino that "the process could become a bit bumpy, even if it ultimately concludes the way that Cohen and the Mets hope."

According to Martino's sources, it’s "too early to count votes and know if Cohen truly has reason to worry about his ability to rally the support of 23 teams."

Sept. 11, 2:59 p.m.

Despite the fact that Steve Cohen is finalizing terms to purchase the Mets and is expected to be approved by MLB owners in November, the group led by Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez is refusing to give up hope.

According to Charles Gasparino of Fox Business, J-Lo and A-Rod are adding more "sweeteners" to their "last-ditch" effort to purchase the team, which includes Marc Lore of Walmart now pledging hundreds of millions of dollars.

Gasparino added that this is part of an effort to convince MLB owners to reconsider approving Cohen in November.

Sept. 9, 11:17 a.m.

Steve Cohen and the Mets are "finalizing" paperwork on his purchase of the team, reports Charles Gasparino of Fox Business.

According to Gasparino, Cohen's approval as owner will be voted on in November at a "special owners meeting," with league sources saying there is "every indication" Cohen will get approved.

Sept. 8, 6:18 p.m.

Though Steve Cohen is said to be "progressing in his talks to buy the Mets," the Alex Rodriguez-Jennifer Lopez group is not giving up on their bid to buy the team. 

In an interview with Joel Sherman of the New York Post, Lopez says that she would now act as the team's control person (as opposed to A-Rod) and that their bid "was either similar or better" than Cohen's bid. 

“It ain’t over until it is over,” Lopez said to The Post. “We are New Yorkers and we are not going to give up. We feel we have the best bid for the sport, the team and the city.” 

Lopez and Rodriguez have also guaranteed -- if they were to own the team -- a World Series championship in the next 10 year or donate $100 million to New York charities if that doesn't happen.

Sept. 8, 12:59 p.m.

"Steve Cohen is progressing in his talks to buy the Mets," Charles Gasparino said Tuesday during an appearance on the Fox Business channel. "Two things -- deal could be done in the coming weeks or even days. MLB owners likely to approve in November at their next meeting."

With free agency beginning soon after the conclusion of the World Series, an official approval of Cohen not happening until November would be interesting timing when it comes to how the market for the top players develops.

Theoretically, in a scenario where the Mets are about to be taken over by the richest owner in baseball, it would be wise for player agents to wait for potential Mets involvement in negotiations before recommending that their clients sign anywhere.

Sept. 1, 10:11 a.m.

With the Mets and Steve Cohen entering in exclusive negotiations, Sportico’s Scott Soshnick is reporting that Cohen’s current bid is around $2.35 billion.

If that is the case, it would be $250 million less than what he agreed on to purchase the team back in December, before that deal fell through. 

Negotiations are still ongoing and there could be an agreement “within a week,” as Soshnick is hearing.

Aug. 28, 10:12 p.m.

According to CNBC's David Faber, Steve Cohen has entered into exclusive negotiations to purchase the Mets, with a deal expected to be reached "within days." 

Alex Rodriguez then released the following statement:

"The consortium led by Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez has informed the Mets that they are no longer pursuing the acquisition of the team. The consortium, which included Vincent Viola, Mike Repole, and Marc Lore had submitted a fully funded offer at record price for the team which was supported by binding debt commitments from JP Morgan and equity commitment letters from credit worthy partners. The consortium said that they are disappointed to not be part of the revitalization of New York City and provide an exhilarating experience for the fans and wish the Wilpon family and the entire Mets organization well."

Aug. 22, 10:03 p.m.

MLB Network's Jon Heyman reports that the duo of Josh Harris and David Blitzer is "disinclined" to get into a bidding war with Steve Cohen's group as well as the duo of Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez.

Now, it seems that Cohen, who is still seen as the favorite, should only be worried about J-Rod.

Harris and Blitzer are both co-owners of the Philadelphia 76ers and the New Jersey Devils.

Aug. 19, 10:36 a.m.

Steve Cohen is the favorite to purchase the Mets, "insiders and sports financiers" told Daniel Kaplan of The Athletic.

According to those insiders, Cohen -- who has by far the deepest pockets of the interested parties -- has always been the favorite.

Kaplan notes in his wide-ranging story that there are concerns within MLB about the ability of the Alex Rodriguez/Jennifer Lopez group to finance the team if they wind up with it.  And one source close to Rodriguez told Kaplan that “If Cohen wants it, this is his.”

With second-round bids due by Aug. 31, a resolution on who wins the bidding could be nearing. At that point, it will be up to the other 29 owners to grant approval to the prospective new ownership group.

Aug. 17, 4:08 p.m.

Sources close to Steve Cohen have told Charles Gasparino of Fox Business that Cohen is "100 percent" committed to making a second-round bid to purchase the Mets after getting a look at the team's financials.

The financial situation is reported to be less than ideal.

Along with Cohen, other groups still in the bidding process were recently granted access to the financials.

Aug. 17, 1:06 p.m.

The day after a report from Bob Nightengale that the ownership group led by Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez was in the lead for the Mets, Scott Soshnick of Sportico said during an appearance on WFAN to take that report with a grain of salt (though he did say on Twitter that J-Rod visited Citi Field again on Monday).

Adding that it's hard to classify any of the groups as a favorite at the moment, Soshnick said that, recently, people involved in the process had begun to get a sense that this is "Steve (Cohen's) team to lose."

Cohen, a hedge fund titan, has by far the most money of all of the players reported to be involved in the process.

Aug. 11, 8:30 p.m.

Sportico reports that the bidders have until Aug. 31 to submit their final offers.

In a letter from Allen & Co. obtained by Sportico, said the firm "look[s] forward to your final offer." The letter also informed the bidders of the due date for final bids.

Allen & Co. asked the bidders for each group's sources of financing and a list of members in each bid group.

Aug. 4, 5:09 p.m.

With three bidding groups for the Mets continuing to hold "management meetings" with the team, the group led by Josh Harris and David Blitzer is seeking minority owners to join their bid, reports Charles Gasparino of Fox Business.

According to Gasparino, that means billionaire hedge fund manager Steve Cohen remains in the "best position" to buy the team.

In addition to the Harris/Blitzer and Cohen groups, the group led by Alex Rodriguez, Jennifer Lopez, and Mike Repole reportedly remains in the mix.

July 23, 4:14 p.m.

The Mets' sale process is in the final inning with bidding groups meeting with team owners and preparing to "firm up" their offers, reports Charles Gasparino of Fox Business.

Those still reportedly involved in the process include billionaire hedge fund manager Steve Cohen, a group led by Josh Harris and David Blitzer, and a group fronted by Alex Rodriguez, Jennifer Lopez, and Mike Repole.

July 20, 9:48 a.m.

On the heels of a report that the bid led by Alex Rodriguez, Jennifer Lopez, and Mike Repole may not have enough money to continue on in the process, Repole pushed back against that notion.

"One hundred percent, we can be competitive," Repole told Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. "The entire group has more than enough money.”

Repole also explained why he believes his group is the best one for the Mets and baseball in general.

“This is the best ownership group, not only for the Mets but for New York and definitely for baseball,” Repole said. “I pride myself on being a marketer. Baseball needs a little bit of a marketing wake-up call, a marketing shot in the arm. Obviously with Alex and Jennifer and what I’ve done with brands all my life, if I’m among the 29 other baseball owners and I’m Manfred, this is the team I want to own the New York Mets in the New York market.”

July 19, 1:36 p.m.

It looks like the Alex Rodriguez, Jennifer Lopez and Mike Repole group may be out of the bidding—for now at least.

According to Fox Business Network's Charles Gasparino, despite all the leaks of investors involved, it appears that the group doesn't have enough money to compete just yet. So for now, the bidding looks like it's coming down to Steve Cohen and Harris Blitzer.

Gasparino's sources say that Cohen is worried about surviving an owners vote due to his past insider trading issues and his willingness to spend on players, though he has been told by MLB executives that he'll be ok.

July 18, 1:18 p.m.

Well, that was fast. 

On Saturday, Joe Tsai denied Mason Plumlee's claim that the Nets owner had joined his group that is trying to buy the Mets. Plumlee had written about Tsai's involvement on his website, but Tsai tweeted that it's untrue. 

"Sorry Twitter, it is not true. I grew up as a Mets fan and I have a lot of respect for Alex and Jennifer. But I’m not involved in bidding for the Mets. Gotta focus on basketball," he wrote.

July 18, 11:56 a.m.

Nets owner Joe Tsai is now part of the group bidding on the Mets that includes Alex Rodriguez, Jennifer Lopez and Mike Repole, according to current Nugget and former Net Mason Plumlee -- who is also part of that group. 

The New York Daily News' Stefan Bondy pointed out that tidbit from Plumlee's website. 

Plumlee wrote in  post on Friday:

"The reality is this group has plenty of money and experience. There’s no bigger, more dynamic, power couple than A-Rod and J-Lo. Vinnie and Mike Repole are first generation billionaires with passion and vision. Alex knows a little something about baseball. Jennifer is a mogul in the entertainment industry. Vinnie knows the ownership gig as owner of the Florida Panthers. And spoiler alert: we’ve now got another billionaire sports owner in the mix as a partner — Joe Tsai — who brings our collective net worth to the top of the bid list."

Tsai has an estimated net worth of $12.4 billion, according to Forbes.

July 17, 11:04 a.m.

Steven Cohen remains confident his bid for the Mets will top bids made by the Alex Rodriguez, Jennifer Lopez, and Mike Repole group, and the Josh Harris and David Blitzer group, reports Charles Gasparino of Fox Business.

It was reported earlier this week that Sheldon Adelson had joined the Harris and Blitzer bid, but a spokesperson for Adelson denied any interest.

At the moment, Cohen remains the wealthiest reported bidder (by far), as he has an estimated net worth of $13 billion.

July 15, 2:38 p.m.

Billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, through his spokesperson, has denied a report that stated he had joined the bidding for the Mets.

Adelson "has no interest in buying" even a portion of the Mets, the spokesperson said, according to Charles Gasparino of Fox Business.

According to Gasparino, Josh Harris and David Blitzer approached Adelson regarding the potential of a casino development near Citi Field.

Thornton McEnery of the New York Post reported earlier Wednesday that Adelson was the "mystery" bidder for the Mets, and was joining the bid of the group led by Harris and Blitzer.

The 86-year-old Adelson, whose estimated net worth is $30.8 billion, would have been the wealthiest person known to be involved in the process. Steve Cohen's estimated net worth is $13 billion.

July 14, 2:07 p.m.

Billionaire hedge fund manager Steve Cohen, a group led by Alex Rodriguez, Jennifer Lopez, and Mike Repole, another led by Josh Harris and David Blitzer, and an "unidentified party" have advanced to the second round of bidding to purchase the Mets, reports Scott Soshnick of Sportico.

According to Soshnick, the groups were informed that Allen & Company (which is handling the sale) and the Mets would "reach out soon to provide more detailed information on the franchise."

July 13, 2:24 p.m.

NFL Hall-of-Famer Brian Urlacher and NBA All-Star Bradley Beal are among those who have joined Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez's bid to buy the Mets, Rodriguez and Lopez told ESPN.

"We couldn't be more excited to have such high-quality individuals as part of our group," Lopez and Rodriguez said.

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce is also part of the bid.

"This is a crazy opportunity. I had a chance to meet Alex Rodriguez a couple years ago and just told him how much of a fan I was as a kid of him," Kelce told ESPN. "I'm very thankful for the success that I've had in the NFL, to have an opportunity like this come across the table. I couldn't think of a more unique set of people to be in charge of this. Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez are a star-studded couple that have gotten to where they are because they work their tails off. And they're good human beings. I thank them for letting me be a part of this."

July 13, 12:46 p.m.

The bid from the group led by Mike Repole, Alex Rodriguez, and Jennifer Lopez is closer to $2 billion (around where Steve Cohen's initial bid reportedly was), not the roughly $1.7 billion that was recently reported, J.P. Morgan (which helped finance the bid) is telling Charles Gasparino of Fox Business.

Additionally, Gasparino reports that a person close to Josh Harris and David Blitzer said the two are "feeling pretty good" about their chances of winding up with the team.

July 12, 9:30 p.m.

The initial bids to purchase the Mets were given to Allen & Company on Thursday, and here's where the potential new owners stand.

Steve Cohen's bid is around $2 billion, according to multiple reports, and Alex Rodriguez's party with Mike Repole and Jennifer Lopez has a $1.7 billion bid.

There were reportedly five other groups that bid with these two, including a party with Josh Harris and David Blitzer.

July 6, 9:07 p.m.

Steve Cohen will be sending in another bid on the Mets later this week.

Allen & Company set a July 9 date for groups to submit initial bids to the Wilpon family to purchase the team, and Cohen – with a reported net worth of $13 billion – could likely outbid any other group.

There are reportedly seven groups in the running, including a group led by billionaire Mike Repole, Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez, as well as Josh Harris and David Blitzer.

July 2, 11:47 a.m

Allen & Company, the firm handling the sale of the Mets, has set July 9 as the date for groups to submit bids, reports Charles Gasparino of Fox Business.

According to Gasparino, those interested in bidding include billionaire hedge fund manager Steve Cohen, who was deep in negotiations to purchase the team in February before talks broke down.

In addition to Cohen, other interested parties include the group led by Mike Repole, Alex Rodriguez, and Jennifer Lopez, and the one fronted by Josh Harris and David Blitzer.

It was recently reported by Scott Soshnick of Sportico that seven groups interested in purchasing the Mets had been pre-approved by MLB as qualified bidders.

According to Soshnick, the Mets are hoping to complete the sale by the end of the year.

In addition to the potential bidders above, billionaire brothers David and Simon Reuben have also reportedly been interested, but Soshnick reported last week that their interest may revolve more around real estate opportunities than the team.

Mets COO Jeff Wilpon gave an update on June 11 regarding the potential sale of the team.

"The team will have some kind of transaction," Wilpon said during a panel for the UJA-Federation of New York, according to Yaron Weitzman of Bleacher Report. "I can't tell you exactly what it's going to be and how it's going to look, but we're working towards a transaction and there's four or five suitors that are out there to do something with and a bunch of philanthropic planning and family planning that my dad and my uncle want to do. And it's totally fine. And when we have something to truly announce and tell you about, we'll do that. Not going to play the speculation game or get in any kind of competition with Page Six or Variety Magazine."

On Feb. 6, after Cohen announced that his deal to become majority owner had fallen through, Sterling Partners released a statement citing the "highly complicated" transaction they had been attempting with Cohen and adding that Sterling intended to "pursue a new transaction and has engaged Allen & Company to manage that process."

A report in the New York Times shed light on the snag the potential deal hit after it had been reported that Cohen was close to walking away from the table.

MLB -- non-Mets -- sources with knowledge of the Cohen negotiation said it wasn't the five-year transition of power that was at issue, SNY's Andy Martino reported, saying that part of the transaction was a done deal in writing months before talks broke down.

Bloomberg reported that in the wake of the failed negotiations with Cohen, there would be "no preconditions regarding control of the team" as part of the next attempted sale, meaning the next majority owner would likely have full control once the sale is complete.

Fred Wilpon has been the majority owner of the Mets since 2002, when he bought out Nelson Doubleday.

Doubleday and Company and Wilpon purchased the Mets from the Payson family in January of 1980.