Manfred, Mets say sale from Wilpons to Cohen is off

Fred Wilpon, principal owner of the New York Mets, waves as he heads to a meeting during MLB baseball owners meetings, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
Fred Wilpon, principal owner of the New York Mets, waves as he heads to a meeting during MLB baseball owners meetings, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

ORLANDO, Fla. – Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred and the New York Mets say talks have ended over the proposed sale of a controlling share of the team from the families of Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz to hedge fund manager Steve Cohen.

The Mets said Thursday night in a statement they intend to find another buyer, although it's unclear if a future transaction would involve a controlling share of the franchise.

The Mets said Dec. 4 the contemplated deal between Sterling Partners and Cohen would have allowed 83-year-old Fred Wilpon to remain controlling owner and chief executive officer for five years. His son Jeff would have remained chief operating officer during that time as well.

The Mets statement called the proposed deal “a highly complicated one.”

“Despite the efforts of the parties over the past several months, it became apparent that the transaction as contemplated would have been too difficult to execute," the team said.

Manfred said at the end of an owners' meeting that "the assertion that the transaction fell apart because of something the Wilpons did is completely and utterly unfair.”

Cohen bought an 8% limited partnership stake in 2012 for $40 million. The deal under discussion would have seen him acquire an 80% controlling share in a transaction that values the team at $2.6 billion.

“I’m very disappointed we couldn’t work out a deal, but as an 8% holder I’m looking forward to a higher bid for the team," Cohen said in a statement. "I gave it my best shot.”