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Wilpon family's sale of New York Mets to billionaire Cohen falls through

The New York Mets last went to the World Series in 2015, when they lost in five games to the Kansas City Royals. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
The New York Mets last went to the World Series in 2015, when they lost in five games to the Kansas City Royals. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 7 (UPI) -- The Wilpon family's sale of the New York Mets to billionaire Steve Cohen has fallen through.

Sterling Partners -- the company that runs the Mets -- confirmed negotiations with Cohen in December. Fred Wilpon is the co-founder of the middle market private equity firm. The group said it will pursue a new transaction and has hired investment banker Allen & Company to manage the process.

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"The transaction between Sterling and Steve Cohen was a highly complicated one," Sterling Partners said Thursday in a statement. "Despite the efforts of the parties over the past several months, it became apparent that the transaction as contemplated would have been too difficult to execute."

Cohen, 63, became a minority owner in the Mets in 2012 and owns 8 percent of the franchise. He was looking to purchase 80 percent of the team. The CEO and president of Point72 Asset Management has a net worth of $13.6 billion. He previously tried to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers.

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"I'm very disappointed we couldn't work out a deal, but as an 8 percent holder I'm looking forward to a higher bid for the team," Cohen said in a statement.

Cohen also said the bid was his "best shot."

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred commented on the transaction Thursday at MLB owners meetings in Orlando, Fla. Manfred said the "assertion that the transaction fell apart because of something that the Wilpons did is completely and utterly unfair."

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"All I can tell you is right now, my belief is there is not going to be a transaction," Manfred said. "My soothsaying isn't great. I don't know what's going to happen. As of right now, it's my belief that that transaction's not going forward."

The Mets are valued at $2.6 billion. The Wilpons assumed control of the Mets when they bought Nelson Doubleday for $135 million in 2002.

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