Mets plan to sell small blocks of team to family members

According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, “Sources familiar with the organization’s plans said Fred Wilpon and family will sell small blocks of the team to multiple family members and friends that add up to roughly the same ($200 million that was discussed in the deal with David Einhorn).”

Updated at 11:10 am:

small photo There are truly only a handful of people who know the specifics about how this potential deal was structured. That said, I’ve heard other fans and media speculate today that this must indicate Ownership’s situation is worse.

However, if you think about it, that would work to Einhorn’s advantage, and increase the team’s need to partner, so why would talks break off? However, the way I see it, based on all of the updates below, it reads to me like perhaps the Wilpons financial and legal situation could be improving and so they no longer feel it necessary to give as much to a limited partner as they initially thought. Or, maybe they just didn’t want to be in bed with Einhorn, who clearly was working very, very hard to try to take control of the organization, based on the New York Post report below.

In either case, it’s back to the drawing board for Ownership, I guess, as they work to find other ways to finance what they need.

Updated at 11:00 am:

David Einhorn just said e-mailed the following statement to reporters:

“I am disappointed to announce that I will not be purchasing an ownership interest in the New York Mets baseball team at this time. It is clear that it will not be possible for me to consummate the transaction on the terms that the Sterling-Mets organization and I originally agreed to several months ago. The extensive nature of changes that were proposed to me at the last minute has made a successful transaction impossible.

“I want to thank the entire Mets organization and Major League Baseball for their efforts. This experience will always be a happy memory for me because of the Mets’ fans. A good number of you have reached out to offer me encouragement. I will always be touched by the warmth that you showed me.”

Updated at 10:56 am:

This morning the New York Post reported that David Einhorn had been pushing for a clear path to becoming principal owner of the Mets.

“Einhorn is pushing Major League Baseball baseball to pre-approve him as an owner of the baseball franchise, even though it will be five years before he has a shot at majority ownership,” The Post said. “Einhorn’s request for majority approval has become one of the key sticking points in negotiations that could drag on until November, sources said.”

Sources told the Post that Einhorn’s request is “unprecedented.”

By the way, WFAN will talk on air with Richard Sandomir of the New York Times some time between 12 pm and 1 pm, which you can listen to here.

Updated at 10:42 am:

The Mets have issued the following statement:

The New York Mets’ Owners announced today that their period of exclusive negotiations with David Einhorn regarding a minority, non-operating interest in the Mets has expired and Ownership has decided not to extend the exclusive negotiating period any further. After months of negotiation, the parties were unable to reach agreement, and Mets Ownership has decided to explore other options. Ownership has provided additional capital to cover all 2011 losses and is moving forward with the necessary resources to continue to operate the franchise. Ownership will explore other strategic transactions and is under no financial pressure to do a deal on any particular schedule.

“We are very confident in the team’s plans – both off and on the field,” said Mets Chairman and CEO Fred Wilpon in the statement. “We will engage with other individuals, some who have been previously vetted by Major League Baseball, along with other interested parties, regarding a potential minority investment into the franchise. My partners and I thank David for his interest in considering this opportunity and wish him well in the future.”

Original Post at 10:25 am:

“The Mets-Einhorn deal is dead,” Richard Sandomir of the New York Times said on Twitter.