Not Amazin’: Einhorn’s Mets Deal Falls Through

by Todd Shriber

Why anyone would want to buy a stake in the futility-prone New York Mets baseball franchise is up for debate. But the ball appears to have been dropped for hedge fund luminary David Einhorn, who wanted to do just that.

The poker-playing Einhorn appeared to be getting a sweetheart deal to shell out $200 million for a minority stake in the Mets. Perhaps it was too sweet because the Wilpon family, which owns the Mets, scrapped the deal at the last minute.

Fred Wilpon, the Mets’ principal owner, entertained the idea of selling a stake in his team to Einhorn because he needed cash after being hit with a $1 billion lawsuit related to Bernie Madoff’s notorious Ponzi scheme, Bloomberg reported. Einhorn noted today that there were “many, many proposed modifications” to the original deal, and that he was surprised to see such a high level of change, Bloomberg reported.

One of the sticking points appears to be that the Wilpons reversed course on a clause in the original deal that provided for pre-approval from Major League Baseball should Einhorn become the majority owner of the team.

What makes the separation from Einhorn all the more curious is that there is no getting around the fact that the Mets are in a precarious financial position. The team is $427 million in the red and may lose $70 million this year, according to Sports Illustrated. Rather than sell the $200 million stake to one buyer, the Wilpons intend to split it among family and friends to raise the needed proceeds, ESPN reports.

For his part, Einhorn, president of Greenlight Capital, doesn’t intend to pursue other Major League Baseball ownership opportunities at the current time. And hey, at least he’s being nice about being shafted by the Wilpons as he doesn’t intend to pursue litigation against the family, ESPN said.

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