Billionaires Steve Cohen and Josh Harris, along with former big-league star Alex Rodriguez, were among at least five groups that submitted first-round bids to buy the New York Mets, according to people familiar with the matter. The people were granted anonymity because the matter is private.
The bid amounts aren’t known. The offers are nonbinding, meaning the prospective owners can alter their bids as the auction progresses.
Investment bank Allen & Co., which is overseeing the sale, declined to comment.
Much of the speculation around the Mets sale has centered around Cohen, who last year was in talks to buy up to 80% of the team from the Wilpon and Katz families in a deal that valued club at $2.6 billion. Those talks fell apart, igniting the current auction, which comes as pro sports leagues and teams are dealing with the interruption of the COVID-19 pandemic. The current owners hope to complete a sale by the end of the year.
Cohen already holds an 8% stake in the Mets, who even in a full season with fans in attendance lose at least $50 million a year.
Harris, the co-founder of Apollo Global Management, and Blackstone executive David Blitzer, are looking to add the Mets to a sports portfolio that already contains the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers, NHL’s New Jersey Devils and their arena, the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, as well as English Premier League team Crystal Palace.
Rodriguez, or A-Rod as he’s known, and his entertainer and actor fiancé, Jennifer Lopez, are part of a group that includes Florida Panthers owner Vinnie Viola and Vitaminwater co-founder Mike Repole.
The sale does not include the team’s stake in its regional sports network.