the NY Post, the Mets' pending deal to sell a minority stake in the team to David Einhorn is dragging on well beyond its expected closing date because lender JPMorgan Chase is not letting the team structure the deal as a loan, making it harder to complete, The NY Post has learned.
"The Wilpons are having a tough time with the banks," a source close to the talks said.
Fred Wilpon's Sterling Equities, which owns the Mets, last week extended its exclusive negotiations with Einhorn after failing to reach a deal by the June 30 deadline.
Einhorn's $200 million purchase of a 33 percent stake in the money-losing Mets franchise is structured as a loan -- with the hedge-fund investor getting paid back in three years and having his stake reduced to about 16 percent.
JPMorgan Chase, which is owed about $500 million by the team, won't approve such a deal unless its loans get serviced -- repaid or restructured -- prior to Einhorn.
In addition to objecting to the Einhorn deal, in the last few months the bank wrote a "tough" letter to Sterling telling it that the Mets had breached their loan in 13 different ways, said the source, who has seen the letter.
The bank did not put the team in default, but the letter puts it on notice so the bank could more easily pursue that course in the future, the source said.
The 43-year-old Einhorn, if he is not repaid in three years, has the option of acquiring a controlling stake in the Mets at a predetermined price.
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