New York Mets owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz are reportedly desperate to find a new potential minority partner after it suddenly dawned on them that investor David Einhorn may be trying to take the whole team from them.
Einhorn has been in talks for several weeks to buy a non-controlling share of the franchise for around $200 million.
His exclusive negotiation window has expired, but no one else seems willing to step up and fight him for the troubled team.
Forbes reported yesterday that Wilpon reached out oil trading baron Ray Bartoszek, in the hopes that he might take Einhorn’s place.
The concern for the current owners – which should have been obvious to anyone the moment Einhorn picked up the phone – is that the hedge fund giant is looking to grab a foothold now, so that he can take over the entire thing when the Wilpon’s empire inevitably collapses.
The exact details of his offer are not known, but Forbes has claimed that the terms Einhorn is seeking would require the Mets to pay back his initial investment in 3 years, or give him the option to raise his stake in the team to 60% … for just $1 more.
If that’s true, he’s basically shorting the financially-troubled team, so that he can pick up the pieces for himself. The guy likes his baseball.
The Mets have denied both the Bartoszek rumour and the $1 story, but surely the fact that the Einhorn negotiations have dragged on much longer than either side had hoped suggests the owners may nervous about the deal they’re about to make.
Unfortunately, they may have no choice, but to bargain with (their) devil.
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