Why invest in a New York City business? Because Cohen wants to do so.
Steven Cohen has apparently missed the message emanating from certain sectors. New York City is dead, crime is way up and people are fleeing Manhattan. Cohen is about ready to invest $2.4 billion in buying the New York Mets Major League Baseball franchise from Fred Wilpon. Wilpon and Nelson Doubleday purchased the Mets business from the Payson family in 1980 for $21 million. Wilpon had just one percent of the business in 1980. Wilpon took full control of the Mets in 2002 after he reached a deal to buy out Doubleday’s share. Major League Baseball has always had a soft spot for Fred Wilpon. Wilpon somehow was involved in Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. MLB could have dumped him after he was ordered to pay restitution to Madoff’s victims. But MLB continued to live with Wilpon. In fact, Wilpon was selected to head up MLB’s financial committee after the news broke that Wilpon somehow was entangled with Madoff. Cohen has money but his business record may not be all that attractive to Major League Baseball owners.
Cohen fanned in his two previous attempts to buy Major League Baseball franchises. In 2012, his bid to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers failed because his bid was not as good as the Guggenheim Partners. But there was also a problem with his hedge fund company SAC Capital Advisors. There were accusations of insider trading. Cohen would ultimately beat the rap and not serve jail time although he did pay a fine of $1.2 billion to the Securities Exchange Commission. There was an allegation of sexual harassment at Cohen’s hedge firm. That has been settled. Earlier this year, he whiffed trying to buy the Mets. The reports were that Cohen wanted Wilpon’s piece of the local regional cable TV network and that demand killed the deal. It is unclear if Cohen gets that business in this deal. Meet the Mets.