With Jeff and Fred Wilpon putting a portion of the New York Mets up for sale late last week, potential suitors are already lining up. The New York Post reports that Martin Luther King III is part of a group interested in becoming partial owners of the club.
According to The Post, the group includes Mets legend Ed Kranepool; entrepreneur Donn Clendenon Jr., son of the 1969 Mets World Series MVP; TV executive Larry Meli; and a number of unnamed deep-pocketed investors.
But, as we covered when this story broke (see Weight of Madoff Scandal Puts Portion of New York Mets Up for Sale), a key factor in the sale of the club is what percentage the Wilpons are willing to sell. That could be a potential stumbling block in negotiations with the MLK III group.
The group is seeking “at least a 50 percent” ownership share – a large controlling interest. The Wilpons are reportedly seeking to sell just half that – 25 percent.
"I think in order for it to make sense it would have to be at least a 50-50 arrangement," said Meli, a trusted friend of King, who is cited in The Post article.
Meli also noted that MLB currently has no African-American owners, which true in terms of controlling interest, but not at the minority ownership level.
Fred and Jeff Wilpon said Friday in a statement, “Regardless of the outcome of this exploration, Sterling will remain the principal ownership group of the Mets and continue to control and manage the team's operations. The Mets have been a major part of our families for more than 30 years and that is not going to change.”
Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, as well as a contributor to FanGraphs and Forbes SportsMoney. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.
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