By Evan Brunell
The future minority owner is in a pool of three final candidates, as the New York Times reveals. Of the three still in contention, a billionaire hedge fund manager by the name of Steven Cohen may be the favorite. In fact, the Mets reportedly approached Cohen a year ago about taking a minority stake in the club. The club later denied this while Cohen gave mixed messages, but the message is clear on this one: Cohen is a finalist to assume a minority stake in the Mets, even if it surprises some close to Cohen who believe he isn't interested in a minority stake.
Cohen is the head of SAC Capital Advisors with a personal net worth of $8 billion, with the hedge fund responsible for $12 billion. That's a lot of moolah, and Cohen's come by that money impressively by performing returns of roughly 30 percent over the last two decades. Of course, the Mets know all too well about putting too much trust in a financier's impressive returns, but Cohen appears to be aboveboard even if two former portfolio managers at SAC are being accused of insider trading.
Cohen has a link to New York by donating $50 million to the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, of which Mets president Saul Katz is a former chairman of and current executive committee member. Cohen's donation was to fund pediatric care.
He would certainly have to roughly quadruple that donation to grab a minority stake in the Mets. Again, it seems a surprise that Cohen is interested in such a stake, which means he must have been convinced that he can eventually assume control and/or has simply changed his mind. The Mets may be forced to open more stake in the team up as well as allow for bids on Sportsnet New York, the regional sports network that the Wilpons currently own 2/3s of. The Wilpons have told every bidder they will not be selling more than 49 percent of the club or any of the SNY stake for at least a year. Reading in between the lines, it appears that even the Wilpons are unsure if they can hang onto the club and need an extra year after being bailed out by the minority purchase to evaluate.
Cohen's competitors are a group led by Anthony Scaramucci -- founder of a hedge-fund firm -- and James McCann, the founder of 1-800-Flowers.com.
Cohen image courtesy New York Times.