The hedge fund titan had been in exclusive talks to assume control of the Major League Baseball franchise from the Katz and Wilpon families.
“I am excited to have reached an agreement with the Wilpon and Katz families to purchase the New York Mets,” Cohen said in a statement.
Allen & Co., which is overseeing the sale, declined to comment. Cohen will own 95% of the team, with the Katz and Wilpon families retaining the other 5%.
While financial terms of the agreement haven’t been disclosed, two people with knowledge of the deal have said the sale values the team at about $2.42 billion.
That would make it the most paid for an MLB franchise, topping the $2.15 billion paid for the Los Angeles Dodgers and surrounding real estate.
Even though Cohen already owns 8% of the Mets, the change in ownership still requires approval of MLB owners. Twenty-three of 30 owners must okay the deal. Owners likely will vote at their regularly-scheduled meeting in November.
Owning the Mets has been a lifelong dream for Cohen, who grew up in nearby Great Neck, New York, rooting for the club.
Cohen, who is worth more than $10 billion, according to Bloomberg, assumes control of a money-losing franchise in the No. 1 U.S. media market. SNY, the regional sports network part-owned by the club, isn’t part of the transaction.
The 64-year-old Cohen has the resources to both sustain annual losses and still invest in players. His ability to finance the purchase without partners made him the favorite during an auction process that included Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils owner Josh Harris and former big-league star Alex Rodriguez as bidders.
Cohen in December was in talks to acquire up to 80% of the team in a deal that valued the Mets at $2.6 billion. Those talks fell apart after Cohen sought to alter terms that would have allowed the Wilpons to retain control for five years.
The current owners acquired a controlling stake in the Mets for $391 million in 2002.
Even before the COVID-19 shutdown of pro sports, the Mets were losing at least $50 million annually. That number might swell to more than $200 million this season as MLB attempts to play a reduced 60-game season without fans in attendance.
(This story has been updated with a statement from Cohen in the third paragraph.)