Friday, February 11, 2011

Reuters: Mike Repole steps up to plate for Mets, but wants cable share too


Mike Repole stepped to the plate after Mets owners, including chairman Fred Wilpon, said they might sell a minority stake as the trustee recovering money for victims of the Bernard Madoff fraud sued them to recover as much as $1 billion.

The native New Yorker Repole, co-founder of Vitaminwater and chairman of snack food Pirates Booty and healthy fast-food chain Energy Kitchen. Told Reuters that spending hundreds of millions for a 25 percent share in the team needed to include a stake in SNY, which Wilpon had said would not be included in a fund-raising deal.

"This is a team I rooted for my whole life," Repole said in a telephone interview Friday. "I just think it's going to be very difficult to find a minority partner the way the deal is being structured."

"It's a lot of money to put up to have no real control," he said. "It would be cheaper to get four front row season tickets than 25 percent with not much say.

"It's a hard deal to sell to anybody when it's just the ball club and not the network."

Repole, who as a St. Johns University sports management major dreamed of one day becoming general manager of his beloved Mets -- recently valued at nearly $900 million by Forbes -- said the businesses were obviously intertwined.

"You want to put the best product on the field that will increase ratings and your advertising fees on SNY," he said. "That can be very expensive and the SNY piece can be very profitable.

"Being a business entrepreneur, it would be very difficult to just have the team for sale and not a piece of the network," added Repole


Repole said his representatives had contacted the law firm representing the Mets and that he expected the process to take time since the financial picture was evolving.

"With the financial situation for the Wilpons and the (Madoff) case, I think a lot is going to play out over the next three months to a year," he said. "I want to be patiently aggressive."

Mike Repole's real dream is to own the Mets saying,
 
"It's probably a dream scenario," he conceded. "The whole team is not for sale right now. The Wilpons have made it very clear that they're looking for a 25 percent partner.

"If the Wilpons said the entire team is for sale, I think I would be interested in being a managing partner and taking in a bunch of the biggest Mets fans in New York City.

"There's a lot of money in New York City and a lot of Mets fans in New York. (I could) put together a team behind me of some of the super successful people that have one huge common interest with me and that's a love for the New York Mets."

 
In conclusion, It would be wise for the Wilpons to sell their respective shares to someone like Repole because not only can he bring the capital to the table, but he is from Queens and of course.... He is a Mets fan.

Source: Reuters
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