By Joe Pantorno
While Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez have entered the conversation as potential buyers of the New York Mets, one name is still lurking for majority ownership: billionaire Steve Cohen.
A source with knowledge of the situation told amNewYork Metro that Rodriguez and Lopez’s interest in possibly buying the Mets from the Wilpon family could open an avenue for Cohen to buy the team “at a discount.”
Variety’s Scott Soshnick first reported on Monday night that Rodriguez — a former All-Star with the Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers, and New York Yankees — along with his wife, Lopez, a popular recording artist and actress, retained JPMorgan Chase “to raise capital for a possible bid” on the Mets.
But with their net worth at a combined $700 million, they would need to purchase the Mets by committee. Cohen, meanwhile, was poised to buy majority ownership from the Wilpon family earlier this year for $2.6 billion.
Cohen and the Wilpons entered negotiations in December that would have given Cohen an 80% stake in the franchise.
The 63-year-old hedge-fund manager ,valued at $13.7 billion, is currently a minority owner with an 8% share of the Mets.
When the Wilpons tried to ensure that they would remain in power for the next five seasons, despite the sale, Cohen attempted to amend the terms late in the negotiating process, leading to the deal’s abandonment.
“I’m very disappointed we couldn’t work out a deal, but as an 8% holder, I’m looking forward to a higher bid for the team,” Cohen, who grew up a Mets fan on Long Island, said. “I want to thank the fans for their support and the respect they showed me and I want to thank Commissioner Manfred and MLB for their support through the process.”
“I gave it my best shot,” he added.
The Mets hired Allen & Company to oversee the selling of the team, which is expected to be carried out in a more-traditional auction format.
Shortly after the failed deal, a report from Daniel Kaplan of The Athletic revealed that sports bankers and lawyers connected with the sale of the Mets believe Cohen was still “waiting in the wings,” which could scare prospective buyers away.
With no preconditions regarding control of the team this time around, however, Cohen could be the deep-pocketed help Rodriguez and Lopez need to mount a legitimate charge toward Mets ownership.
This story first appeared on amNY.com