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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Mets Seeking $200 Million, Eight to Nine Bidders have been approved by MLB

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According to the NY Times,  the Mets are seeking $200 million for a minority portion of the team — a badly needed cash infusion that the team’s owners would pour directly into the club’s operations and use to pay off some of their debt, according to a person briefed on the sale process.

The owners of the team are also telling potential bidders that they might sell a portion of SNY, their cable network, but that such a negotiation would take place separately from any deal for the team, and would probably not be seriously contemplated for a year or two.

The owners believe that they can get more for a stake in the profitable SNY if it is not packaged with the team, the person said.

Some of the eight or nine bidders approved by Major League Baseball to bid on the Mets have been identified:

Jason Reese, the chairman of Imperial Capital, a Los Angeles-based investment bank, according to two people in baseball with knowledge of his interest in the team. Reese, a native of West Babylon, N.Y., was a lacrosse goalie at Yale.

He and his brother, Jonathan, a former Yale lacrosse captain who holds the N.C.A.A. Division I men’s record of 82 goals in a season, made a donation in 2006 to rename the university’s soccer and lacrosse facility Reese Stadium. It is to be dedicated next month.

The other bidders besides Reese include:

David Heller, a Goldman Sachs executive, along with Marc Spilker, the president of Apollo Global Management, a private equity fund.

Steven Starker, a co-founder of BTIG, a global trading firm, with Kenny Dichter, a co-founder of Marquis Jets; Doug Ellin, creator of HBO’s “Entourage”; and Randy Frankel, a minority owner of the Tampa Bay Rays.

James McCann, the founder of 1-800-Flowers.com, a longtime Mets sponsor, with Anthony Scaramucci, who runs the hedge firm SkyBridge Capital.

Marc A. Utay, managing partner of Clarion Capital, a private equity firm, and Leo Hindery, the first chief executive of the YES Network and a veteran media investor. They also bid for the Chicago Cubs.

All the potential bidders have been examining the Mets’ financial statements and contracts, looking at the team’s future revenue and expenses.

The potential bidders’ next step, which will come soon, is to sign nonbinding letters of intent stating what they are willing to pay. These letters are usually ways to winnow the number of suitors to the most serious ones and start negotiations with the one or two who look the most promising.

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