Nationals

Reports: Cohen emerges as favorite to buy Mets, A-Rod group backs out

Nationals

Billionaire hedge fund manager Steve Cohen has entered “exclusive negotiations” to buy the New York Mets from the Wilpon family, CNBC’s David Faber reported Friday. The group headlined by Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez that was also in the running has reportedly backed out as well.

The Wilpons reached an initial agreement with Cohen in December, but it fell apart after the incumbent owners pushed to retain a share of the club and maintain their status as the Mets’ primary point of contact for communicating with Major League Baseball.

Rodriguez and Lopez partnered with sports beverage mogul Mike Repole in June to form an ownership group that stayed in the running for the team until Friday. The J-Rod couple had originally agreed to a partnership with biotechnology investor Wayne Rothbaum, but he declined to make a competitive bid and backed out.

According to MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo, the Mets “won't be giving details or updates on the timeline or process until we are prepared to make a public announcement.”

COO Jeff Wilpon, son of principal owner Fred Wilpon, was caught up in a who-said-what situation Thursday. Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen was recorded on a hot mic revealing conflicting information about a conversation between Wilpon and commissioner Rob Manfred over how to respond to a slew of teams boycotting games to protest the racial discrimination of Black people in America.