Mike Ozanian

If hedge fund billionaire Steve Cohen still wants the New York Mets he could get the baseball team for $2 billion, according to people with knowledge of the sale of the team. Any my sources say Cohen does want the team.

The Mets are controlled by the Wilpon and Katz families through Sterling Equities. Their group owns about 68% if the team. The $2 billion price—$600 milloin less than the deal with Cohen that blew up in February—would be just for the Mets, not the 65% of the regional sports network SportsNet New York owned by Wilpon and Katz. The earlier deal with Cohen also excluded the RSN.

The financially distressed Mets had to have their investors make about $45 million in capital calls last year. This season—if MLB’s plan for a 60-game season is carried out—the Mets will likely ask their investors to put in even more money than last year because of the absence of stadium revenue. A big reason for the team’s troubles are the declining revenue at Citi Field and their ballpark’s high debt, recently given a credit rating below investment grade.

Despite the team’s money woes, MLB does not want the Mets to be sold for less than $2 billion because it could negatively impact the valuations of all teams. Recall the Los Angeles Dodgers, another financially troubled, big-market team were sold for $2 billion eight years ago. And with groups in Nashville and Portland looking to bring baseball to their cities, a sour sale price for the Mets would not be helpful for the league’s expansion fee.

With a net worth of $14 billion, Cohen would hardly miss $2 billion for the Mets. There are only two other groups that have that kind of money right now to buy the team. One is led by Josh Harris and David Blitzer, who own the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and NHL’s New Jersey Devils. Harris alone is worth $5 billion. But Harris and Blitzer are distressed buyers, not the type of guys looking to pay close to $2 billion for the Mets. The other group is led by David and Simon Reuben. The brothers are worth over $14 billion. But the duo, citizens of the United Kingdom, are secretive and probably do not want to be fully vetted by MLB.