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Mets Owners Hoping to Raise About $200 Million

Friday, 25 Mar 2011 | 12:05 PM ET

As Mets representatives continue to hold meetings with prospective minority investors in the team, new details are emerging about the baseball franchise’s troubled financial condition.

AP

To meet some immediate cashflow needs, the Mets owners are hoping to raise about $200 million, according to people familiar with the matter—which could amount to a 25 percent, 30 percent, or even higher stake in the club, depending on its total valuation.

Estimates vary, but two of these people pinpoint the Mets’ worth at $1.2 billion or $1.3 billion altogether.

The Mets, however, have struggled with falling ticket sales and a disappointing performance, both of which have contributed to the club’s debt load. Again, estimates vary, but one person familiar with the matter say the team’s debt is at least $450 million, and closer to $600 million if future compensation obligations are taking into account.

It’s enough to have turned off some of the dozen or so potential investors in the Mets, a handful of whom appear to have dropped out since the financial briefings began.

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Still, bankers from Allen & Co. who are representing the Mets expect up to 10 different bids to ultimately emerge, according to one of the people familiar with the matter, once the briefings are completed by the middle of April.

Some would-be bidders have little interest in the current terms on offer, say people familiar with their thinking, and are instead continuing their talks in hopes that one of at least two alternative scenarios occurs.

The first, say these people, is a chance to bid on a stake in SNY, the network that broadcasts Mets games. (Potential investors have been told that an SNY stake is not currently on the table.) The second, these people add, is a chance to buy the Mets outright.

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