The bidding war for the New York Mets appears to be down to two, and the preferred bidder from the perspective of the current owners may come as a surprise.
According to Thornton McEnery of the New York Post, the Wilpon family still harbors bad blood toward hedge fund billionaire Steve Cohen, who originally had a deal to buy the team in February before the agreement publicly collapsed. That public drama apparently left the Wilpons with a negative impression of Cohen.
One source went as far as to say that Mets COO Jeff Wilpon “hates” Cohen and would prefer to either sell to the group led by Alex Rodriguez or make Cohen pay twice as much as any other bidder would.
Bidding is reportedly down to either Cohen or Rodriguez. The Rodriguez group has close ties to banking giant JPMorgan Chase, and they believe they can come close financially to what Cohen will offer. Cohen, meanwhile, is reportedly determined to come away with the team and views recent negative stories as an effort to weaken him rattle his front-runner status.
Cohen, a childhood Mets fan, has long been seen as the favorite largely because he’s expected to be able to offer the most money. If the Wilpon family is that opposed to selling to him, it seriously shakes up the bidding and clearly favors A-Rod.