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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Mets have completed the sale of seven minority shares, one investor might be Steve Cohen

According to Steve Marcus of the Ny Newsday, the Mets have completed the sale of seven minority shares of the team for $20 million each, a person familiar with the process said Wednesday.

The source said the seven units are "signed and sealed." Another source identified one of the investors as billionaire hedge fund manager Steve Cohen.

The Mets declined to comment on the status of the sales or Cohen's involvement. A spokesman for Cohen declined to comment.

The club has said it intends to sell 10 units, for a total of $200 million, to pay off existing loans and help with operating expenses during the upcoming season. No timetable was given for an announcement of the agreements. A person with knowledge of the situation has said the investors have been vetted by Major League Baseball.

Cohen, who grew up in Great Neck, also has been identified as a buyer for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He would divest his share with the Mets if he prevailed in his bid with the Dodgers, a source previously said. Cohen initially was in the running for a larger portion of the Mets when the team considered selling to a single investor.

The Mets entered into exclusive negotiations last May with David Einhorn, another hedge fund manager, but those talks broke down last September after issues arose over the amount of control Einhorn would have for his $200 million investment. The Mets then said they would seek multiple investors with no path to majority control.

Initial proceeds from the sales, the Mets have said, will be used to pay off a $25-million loan extended by Major League Baseball and a $40-million bridge loan that a source said came from the Bank of America.

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