Hedge-fund manager Steven Cohen is in talks to boost his stake in the New York Mets to a majority, buying control of one of Major League Baseball's most prominent franchises, reports say.
For five years current owner Fred Wilpon, 83, will continue to serve as the team's chairman, while his son Jeff Wilpon will continue in his post as chief operating officer.
Cohen will end up with majority ownership and total control of the team in five years, the reports say. A person familiar with the matter told Bloomberg News that the deal Cohen is negotiating values the team at $2.6 billion.
Cohen, 63, is president and CEO of Point72 Asset Management, and he would continue in those positions, the reports say.
The hedge-fund manager bought 8% of the team in 2012, the Wall Street Journal reported. At the time the Wilpon family was struggling to recover from losses due to investments with the investment adviser Bernard Madoff.
The Mets posted 2018 revenue of $340 million, according to Forbes.
Cohen is worth about $13.6 billion, according to Forbes. Sports Illustrated reported that he lives in a Connecticut mansion that has nine bedrooms, 16 bathrooms, a putting green and an ice rink with a Zamboni.
He also owns an art collection valued at about $1 billion and featuring the works of such artists as Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock and Andy Warhol.
In 2013, S.A.C. Capital Advisors, which Cohen founded, pleaded guilty to insider trading and agreed to pay $1.8 billion of fines in the criminal case.
The hedge fund agreed to plead guilty to wire fraud and securities fraud and agreed to close to outside investors.
Cohen was prohibited from managing outside money for two years, as part of the settlement reached in a civil case. He didn't admit or deny wrongdoing in the civil case.
Any transaction, reports say, would be subject to approval by Major League Baseball.
The New York Times reported that Fred Wilpon acquired 1% of the Mets in 1980 when Doubleday, a publishing company, bought the team. He became an equal partner in the ownership in 1986, and bought the other half in 2002 for about $135 million, the paper reported.
Fans have complained about the Wilpons' decisions and reluctance to spend money on the team.
The Mets have won one championship during Fred Wilpon's tenure, in 1986. The team lost the World Series in 2000 and 2015. In 2016 they lost to the San Francisco Giants in the post-season wild-card game.