By Evan Brunell
The Mets are now back to square one in their search for a new minority owner after heavy favorite Steven Cohen backed out of a $200 million purchase with backing from Goldman Sachs.
A source close to the proceedings told the New York Post that Cohen has now lost interest, forcing the Wilpons to ask rejected bidders to make new counteroffers. As a result of Cohen's pull out, the Mets will be unable to name a preferred bidder at the upcoming owners's meetings. This could be an issue as MLB wanted a bidder named by this time when it loaned New York $25 million in November.
Cohen may have withdrawn from consideration because he's getting caught in an insider-trading snafu and baseball would have wanted some questions answered. Two employees at Cohen's hedge fund pleaded guilty to insider trading and now federal prosecutors are looking into Cohen's role in the trading as it directly benefited his personal account. While earlier reports had Cohen walking away from the scandal unscathed, that's changed.
This could be a blessing in disguise, even if Cohen is truly innocent. It would have been idiotic for the Mets to sell a minority share of the team -- which will likely eventually turn into a majority share -- to someone with connections to shady financial deals. Shady financial deals is exactly what got the Mets in hot water in the first place with the Bernie Madoff scandal.
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