Steve Cohen – Surprise, Surprise – has made to the second round in the bidding to buy the Mets. With aces in the hole, he has every reason to go all in.
Steve Cohen was ready to spend $4 billion to buy the Mets and SNY, the team’s Regional Sports Network (RSN). Alas, he can only pay $2 billion now because once again, the Wilpons have pulled SNY from the bidding.
This only goes to show the mountain bidders like the groups led by private equity titans Josh Harris and David Blitzer (photo below), and an ever-growing group led by Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez must climb to even approach the advantage Steve Cohen has.
And let’s remember that Cohen’s current bid at $2 billion was $600 million below his offer when the Mets were first put up for sale in the early months of 2020.
So, while the other two groups, plus a fourth mystery bidder (there’s always one of those), are struggling even to match Cohen’s current offer – how is it possible they can stay in the game if Cohen sees fit to up his offer?
Steve Cohen Has Advantages Beyond Just Money
There are other reasons to believe Steve Cohen is the odds-on favorite to win the bidding war.
Soon, as part of the second-round process, the Mets are obliged to release details about their financial status to each of the remaining bidders.
Steve Cohen has already been there and done it as part of the failed attempt to sell/buy the team earlier this year. No doubt, he will expect to find the Mets in even worse shape due to the significant loss of revenue due to COVID, which came after the failed sale.
It’s fair to say that when the other groups see what Cohen already knows about the severity of debt surrounding the Mets, they just might cool their jets a bit.
The strategy then calls for letting their bids stand in the hope that there’s still something “off” in the Wilpon/Cohen relationship, and they can sneak in the back door when and if the feud breaks out again.
To be sure, that development is not likely as it means the Wilpons and Saul Katz accept less money for the team. Why would they do that?
Steve Cohen also has the jump on the other bidders given that he has already been approved by Major League Baseball during the failed sale early this year.
Cohen may need to get approved again for this sale, but the fact he passed the test once, and that approval took into account the one blemish in his past business affairs, still gives him a head start on the others.
In 2013, Cohen pleaded guilty to insider trading and agreed to pay $1.8bn in fines (900M in forfeiture and 900M in penalties). Having been found “not guilty” by MLB, Steve Cohen, conceivably, could make a case of double jeopardy is the issue flairs up again.
All Aboard, The Ship Is Leaving Port
A basic rule in physics says that a body in motion tends to stay in motion. Steve Cohen is a man in perpetual motion, and he will not be denied. Moreover, his desire to own the Mets has roots. This is not merely a “gotta have something else to do with my life” endeavor.
Alex Rodriguez is to be taken seriously as an owner of a major league team, though only in terms of his love and insight for baseball. But he has made other choices since leaving the game that is more “Hollywood” in their nature.
Whether seen in a starring role as a television sports figure, or on the arm of Jennifer Lopez, A-Rod loves the limelight.
This is not meant to discredit him in any way. But the question looms, is A-Rod bored and merely looking for a hobby? Or is this for real?
Steve Cohen also has issues regarding his penchant to gather up toys. One of his more bizarre purchases is a 14-foot shark preserved in formaldehyde, a work by Damien Hirst that cost him about $8 million.
But ultimately, as a single buyer with ties to no one, the advantage goes to Steve Cohen – and his runaway train.