Arctos Sports Partners, the private equity group whose leadership includes former Madison Square Garden Chief Executive Officer Doc O’Connor, has joined the Josh Harris and David Blitzer group pursuing the New York Mets, people familiar with the matter told Sportico.
The people were granted anonymity because the matter is private.
First-round bids on the Mets, controlled by the Wilpon and Katz families, are due tomorrow. The sale process is being overseen by Allen & Co.
Harris, the billionaire co-founder of Apollo Global Management, and Blitzer, a Blackstone executive, are seeking to add the Major League Baseball team to a sport portfolio that includes the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers, hockey’s New Jersey Devils and their arena, the Prudential Center in Newark, as well as the English Premier League team Crystal Palace.
A spokesperson for Harris declined to comment.
Others said to be mulling bids for the Mets are a group that includes former big-league star Alex Rodriguez, who is backed by Florida Panthers owner Vinnie Viola and Vitaminwater co-founder Mike Repole, and also hedge fund titan Steve Cohen, who already holds an 8% stake in the team.
Arctos is said to be raising up to $1.5 billion for its debut fund, with $500 million already committed from Goldman Sachs’s Petershill unit.
Joining O’Connor as the firm’s managing partner is Ian Charles, a longtime private equity investor who, prior to the creation of Arctos, was a partner at Landmark Partners, which according to his bio is a leader in the global private equity, real estate and infrastructure secondary markets. O’Connor declined to comment.
Cohen in December was in talks to buy up to 80% of the club in a deal that valued the Mets at $2.6 billion. Those talks fell apart, igniting a new auction.
The Mets lose at least $50 million annually, and that was before COVID-19 delayed the season and made playing without fans likely this season, which is set to begin July 23.
The team’s current owners hope to complete a transaction by the end of the year.