American businessman David Einhorn has agreed to buy a US$200m stake in financially troubled Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise New York Mets.
The announcement made yesterday, May 26, is subject to the completion of exclusive negotiations and League approval and comes in the same week as Mets chairman and CEO Fred Wilpon’s series of stark comments about the state of the team, both on and off the ballpark.
In statements made to Sports Illustrated, Wilpon claimed that the Mets are “bleeding cash” and could lose up to $70m this year alone, all amidst the fact that he, and team president Saul Katz, face a $1bn lawsuit by the trustee seeking to recover funds lost in Bernard Madoff’s notorious Ponzi scheme.
Einhorn appears to be ready to attempt to save the struggling side and the president of private investment firm Greenlight Capital Inc. has agreed to make a “minority, non-operating investment in the team” which is expected to be completed by late June. The sale is reportedly for less than 49 per cent of the club and will not include a share in SportsNet New York, the television network owned by the Mets.
Wilpon stated: “We are very excited about David joining our ownership group for several reasons. David’s investment immediately improves the franchise’s financial position. Equally important, David’s intelligence, integrity and success in both business and civic affairs provides us with another perspective in evaluating what is best for this organisation and our fans, and we welcome his input. In partnership with David, we look forward to achieving our ultimate goal of again becoming World Series champions.”
Einhorn added: “Having an opportunity to become part of the Mets franchise is exciting beyond my wildest childhood dreams. I spent my first seven years living in New Jersey and rooting for the Mets.” He added: “I have been a baseball fan for my entire life and have enjoyed teaching the game as the coach of my daughter’s Little League team. I look forward to partnering with the Wilpon and Katz families through the good seasons, the tough seasons and especially the championship seasons.”