After months and months of negotiations, hopelessness, and calls by fans to sell the team, it appears the Wilpons are nearing the end of their campaign to raise $200 million to keep the franchise from going under. Today,it was reported by the New York Times that SNY and Time Warner Cable are buying four $20 million minority stakes in the Mets.
The interesting part about this is the fact that Sterling Equities (Fred Wilpon and crew) own about 70% of SNY, the company buying part of the Mets. I don’t know much about this type of deal, but I know that this is an odd occurrence. I guess this was their way to take some of the money they are making from SNY and actually use it. SNY is very profitable, but the Mets haven’t been. This was the Wilpons strategy to transfer some of that money over.
The Metss are also reportedly in talks with billionaire Steve Cohen, who plans on buying one stake in the Mets. However, Cohen is looking to get full ownership of the Dodgers. If he does, he would have to sell his share in the Mets.
This seems like it would be the second best options for fans who want ownership that can spend money. The first, of course, would be selling a majority stake in the Mets to an investor like Steve Cohen, or someone else willing to spend. Bankrupcy is now out of the question. That’s over unless Irving Picard manages to pry $500 million or more from the Wilpons. It is still possible for the appeals court to allow the maximum amount of money Picard, a trustee in charge oof recovering funds lost in the Madoff scheme, could get from the Wilpons. At this point, the minimum amount they will lose is $83, the profit they made from the ponzi scheme. The maimum is somewhere around $400 million. That can change, though, so nothing is by any means set in stone.
This clears up things for Sterling Equities a bit, but there are still murky waters ahead. Fred Wilpon still needs to pay back the $65 million he owes Bank of America and Major League Baseball. The Mets also need to draw big crowds and break even again (unlike last year when they were $70 million in the red). Also, the Mets and SNY have loans of about $400- $500 million due in 2014 and 2015. They could be refinanced, but only if the banks deem them healthy enough to stay afloat.
So I went on a bit of a tangent, eh? Well it won’t hurt anyone. There you go. That’s the situation. Overall, it seems likely now that without a ridiculous court-mandated amount paid to the Madoff trustee, the Wilpon will hold on to the Mets.