Hedgefund billionaire Steve Cohen has been approved by Major League Baseball’s ownership committee to assume majority ownership of the New York Mets, as first reported by Scott Soshnick of Sportico on Tuesday afternoon.
The committee, chaired by Pittsburgh Pirates owner Bob Nutting, led the vetting process that included Cohen’s background and the impending transaction that would see the 64-year-old assume a 95% stake in the Mets.
Other members of the committee include outgoing Mets owner Fred Wilpon, Chicago White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, Chris Ilitch of the Detroit Tigers, and Paul Dolan of the Cleveland Indians.
Next comes a review by commissioner Rob Manfred’s executive council before Cohen’s takeover is voted on by the 29 MLB owners. Cohen needs a total of 23 votes, which would be the final step of the transaction. That is expected to come shortly after the World Series later this month, a source with knowledge of the situation confirmed to amNewYork Metro on Oct. 5.
A source also confirmed Soshnick’s report with amNewYork Metro later on Tuesday afternoon and that this was the first of the final three steps to approve the Cohen takeover.
Cohen entered exclusive negotiations with the Wilpon family to buy the majority share of the Mets for $2.42 billion back in August. On Sept. 14, the Mets announced that they approved of the sale to the Long Island native.
Once Cohen takes over the club, he will become the richest owner in Major League Baseball — his funds expected to pace the Mets to respectability in the near future.
In a move that only appealed himself more to the other club owners and committees, Cohen has already brought on former Mets general manager Sandy Alderson as the team’s president of baseball operations.
It remains to be seen if they will clean house upon their arrival, which would include the removal of current general manager Brodie Van Wagenen, as previously told to amNewYork Metro last month. But the general consensus suggests that Van Wagenen’s removal is more likely than not.
There is a chance that Alderson could act as the team’s general manager during the first year of Cohen’s regime if there is a lack of suitable external candidates for the job.
What has been communicated to amNewYork Metro, however, is that an overhaul of the analytics department is near the top of Cohen’s list of priorities — at the same level as acquiring much-needed player upgrades to throttle the Mets toward contention in 2021.