The New York Mets have a new owner.
ESPN and other outlets reported on Friday that MLB owners voted to approve the sale of the Mets to billionaire hedge fund manager Steve Cohen, who previously owned 8% of the franchise. Cohen is expected to assume 95% ownership of the Mets, while Fred Wilpon, Saul Katz, Wilpon's son Jeff, and their families will retain the remaining 5%.
Previous reports valued the sale at a record $2.42 billion, surpassing the $2.15 billion that Guggenheim Baseball Management reportedly paid to acquire the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2012.
MLB's ownership committee reviewed and approved the transaction earlier this month.
There were concerns New York City could potentially block the sale because an agreement in the team's lease gives the city the right to prevent someone convicted of a felony or linked with organized crime from owning the club. Cohen was never convicted, but SAC Capital Partners, his former company, pleaded guilty in an insider trading case in 2014.
However, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio poured cold water over those fears soon after reports of Friday's vote went public:
Cohen's first move as Mets owner is expected to be the naming of former general manager Sandy Alderson as team president. ESPN's Jeff Passan tweeted Cohen wants to turn the Mets into a "total juggernaut."
And this seals it.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) October 30, 2020
A historic day for the New York Mets. On the eve of free agency beginning, they now have the richest owner in baseball -- by a significant margin -- and Steve Cohen is intent on building the East Coast version of the Los Angeles Dodgers, an total juggernaut. https://t.co/jObjuob4Yn