On Friday, the Wilpons, who own the New York Mets, had a press conference to announce that they were exploring the idea of selling up to 25 percent of the team in order to raise funds for a possible settlement in the case brought against them by the trustee in the Madoff case.
The problem is that the Wilpons say they are not willing to give up a piece of SportsNet New York, the network that is the real money behind the Mets, and that they wish to remain the majority owners well into the future.
This won’t work and the most business savvy already know this because before they went public with this they surely pitched it privately to the richest Mets fans.
They of course said no. What person, in this environment, would pay some $200 million to be a limited partner that has no control of the team?
With an NFL team, it’s possible that might happen, but that’s because teams are making money due to the national television deal and revenue sharing. But no one is going to fork over that type of money for the right to lose money, which will definitely happen if SNY is not included.
So here’s what is going to happen with the Mets. The Wilpons will sell a minority piece of the team only if it includes a piece of SNY or if it includes a promise to sell the rest of the team by a certain date.
Absolutely no one is going to buy a minority piece of a baseball team for $200 million. The Wilpons might get more for their money now if they sell the whole team because the option to buy it eventually is going to have to come with a minority investment today.
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