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Plan B for the Mets: multiple, smaller investors

Sep 2, 2011, 9:15 AM EDT

Fred Wilpon, Jeff Wilpon

With their $200 million cash infusion from David Einhorn scuttled, Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz are taking a different tack.  Richard Sandomir and Ken Belson report that they’re looking into selling smaller stakes “to people willing to invest perhaps $20 million each.” Hurm.

Being a minority investor in a closely-held corporation is not great to begin with. You have no control, really. It’s the sort of thing that, as the Einhorn negotiations showed, would almost compel you to want to (a) have some mechanism to make it a REALLY great investment on its own terms, such as you getting most of your money back later; or (b) have some mechanism by which your minority share could be transformed into a controlling interest at some later date.

But now Wilpon and Katz are basically looking for vanity investors. People who want to be able to say “I own a piece of the Mets.”  As the Times story notes, it’s often the case that “such investors simply want the perks of ownership, like access to suites and the team’s players. Most of these investors do not have ambitions of being majority owners.”

It may be easier to find those kinds of investors, but getting them together, making sure they pay — and continue to pay later when losses need to be covered — and then managing the suddenly-larger ownership group is probably something of a headache.

  1. sdelmonte - Sep 2, 2011 at 9:36 AM

    Far from an ideal plan, and one that will likely leave the Mets in the same limbo that they’re in now till all the big contracts are gone. But it would seem that Einhorn’s route simply would have been a bad deal for the Wilpon faction. Until they are compelled to sell the team outright (which I would say is still possible but not likely), this might be their best route.

  2. Jonny 5 - Sep 2, 2011 at 9:42 AM

    The reason Wilpon threw a monkey wrench into the gears of the deal that was supposed to go down was because he’s got a pretty good idea that he’d not be able to pay back the loan at the terms laid out, therefore losing control of the team. Now he’s fishing for deals that don’t boot his butt out the door. I assume.

  3. yankeesfanlen - Sep 2, 2011 at 9:43 AM

    Become a Metropolitans owner!
    Send $20,000,000 cash ($10s and $20s, or cigarette equivalent) to:
    Cellblock 801, apt.3-D
    Sing Sing, NY 12580

  4. Reggie's Bush - Sep 2, 2011 at 9:59 AM said that sources say Einhorn was ‘preying on the weak’

    Oh well, i liked Einhorn he played in the world series of poker… Perhaps he could of won some money off of Arod

    • jimbo1949 - Sep 2, 2011 at 11:24 AM said that sources say Einhorn was ‘preying on the weak’
      As opposed to Wilpon’s buddy Madoff.

  5. mojosmagic - Sep 2, 2011 at 12:13 PM

    If MLB is throwing McCourt out then the Wilpon’s should be thrown out twice. These two selfish SOB’s care only about themselves while the fans suffer because they can’t compete with teams like the Phillies.

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