MLB owners, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio approve sale of Mets to Steve Cohen (UPDATE)

It’s a done deal.

Major League Baseball owners voted Friday to approve the sale of the New York Mets to billionaire hedge fund manager Steve Cohen.

ESPN’s Jeff Passan and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman first reported the news. Cohen needed “yes” votes from 22 of the 29 MLB owners.

UPDATE (2:56 p.m.): MLB public relations confirmed the news in a press release on Friday afternoon:

Major League Baseball announced today that the owners of the Major League Clubs have approved the new ownership group of the New York Mets led by incoming control person Steve Cohen.  The vote was conducted during a conference call of all Major League Clubs.  The approval is contingent upon the closing of the sale transaction with the current owners of the Mets, which is expected within the next 10 days.

Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. said: “I extend my best wishes to Fred Wilpon, Saul Katz and Jeff Wilpon and thank them for their longstanding efforts for the Mets.  In particular, we appreciate Fred’s decades of service to league committees and the governance of the game.

“On behalf of Major League Baseball, I congratulate Mr. Cohen on receiving approval from the Major League Clubs.  Steve will bring his lifelong passion for the Mets to the stewardship of his hometown team, and he will be joined by highly respected baseball leadership as well.  I believe that Steve will work hard to deliver a team in which Mets fan can take pride.”

All that’s needed now is the blessing of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Earlier this week, de Blasio said the city was just doing “due diligence” on the transaction, something he’s allowed to do because of the lease agreement the Mets have with the city for the land which Citi Field occupies. But according to the New York Post, “the mayor has been pushing the city’s lawyers to find a way to halt Cohen’s sale by using a clause buried in the Citi Field lease.”

UPDATE (2:32 p.m.): De Blasio tweeted Friday afternoon that he has signed off on the sale.

The New York City Law Department has completed its legal review of the proposed sale of the @Mets. New York City has no objections and the Mets can now proceed with the transaction. #LGM

Cohen closed the deal last month to purchase the Mets in a transaction which put the value of the franchise at more than $2.4 billion.

Cohen already announced his first move as Mets owner will be to re-hire Sandy Alderson and give him the title of team president. The second move could be to fire Brodie Van Wagenen, who replaced Alderson as general manager in 2018.

In September, Forbes released its updated list of the 400 wealthiest people in the U.S. Cohen was No. 36 with $14.5 billion.

The New York Post’s Peter Botte notes Cohen is the “richest owner in MLB and in NY sports” and reports Cohen’s net worth “is higher than those of Hal Steinbrenner, Jim Dolan, Woody Johnson and John Mara/Steve Tisch combined.”

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