Billionaire Devils and 76ers owner Josh Harris interested in buying Mets: report

Danny Abriano
SNY

Josh Harris, a billionaire who is the principal owner of the New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia 76ers, and David Blitzer, a minority owner of the Devils and 76ers, "are among the suitors" interested in buying the Mets, reports Scott Soshnick of Variety.

According to the report, talks are in the early stages.

Harris, a private equity investor who co-founded Apollo Global management, had an estimated net worth of $4.5 billion as of November 2019. A native of Chevy Chase, Md., Harris has minority stakes in Crystal Palace of the English Premier League in addition to his principal ownership of the Devils and 76ers.

Blitzer is a senior executive at the private equity firm Blackstone Group, and has minority stakes in Crystal Palace FC, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders (the New York Yankees' Triple-A affiliate), and the Esport company Dignitas in addition to his minority ownership of the Devils and 76ers. 

The most recent suitors connected to the Mets were Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez, whose exploration ended after negotiations with potential investment partners "failed to materialize," according to Thornton McEnery of the New York Post.

Mets COO Jeff Wilpon released a statement on Feb. 10 regarding the ending of negotiations with billionaire hedge fund manager Steve Cohen, whom the team had been deep in talks with, and the process of the sale of the team going forward.

In the statement, Wilpon said the team would be "moving forward to find a new transaction."

On Feb. 6, after Cohen announced that his deal to become majority owner had fallen through, Sterling Partners released a statement citing the "highly complicated" transaction they had been attempting with Cohen and adding that Sterling intended to "pursue a new transaction and has engaged Allen & Company to manage that process." 

A report in the New York Times shed light on the snag the potential deal hit after it had been reported that Cohen was close to walking away from the table. 

MLB -- non-Mets -- sources with knowledge of the Cohen negotiation said it wasn't the five-year transition of power that was at issue, SNY's Andy Martino reported, saying that part of the transaction was a done deal in writing months before talks broke down.

Bloomberg reported that in the wake of the failed negotiations with Cohen, there would be "no preconditions regarding control of the team" as part of the next attempted sale, meaning the next majority owner would likely have full control once the sale is complete. 

Fred Wilpon has been the majority owner of the Mets since 2002, when he bought out Nelson Doubleday.

Doubleday and Company and Wilpon purchased the Mets from the Payson family in January of 1980.

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