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New York Mets Co Owner Said to Want to Sell Team

Saul Katz, the co owner of the New York Mets, reportedly wants to sell his share of the team.

Reports indicate that the co owner of the New York Mets Major League Baseball team, Saul Katz, is interested in selling his share of the team. The 77 year old partner in Sterling Equities, and the brother in law of the Mets’ chairman Fred Wilpon, simply wants to retire, according to the new York Times.

New York’s newer baseball franchise, the National League Mets have always been second to the much more popular and more successful American League Yankees, their cross town rivals. The Yankees play in the Bronx and the Mets in Queens. Both teams opened new stadiums in 2009, which the franchises own and paid for.

The New York Yankees have won 27 championships in their 104 year history, the last coming in 2009. The Mets have only won two championships since their founding 52 years ago and have not won in 28 years. In 2000 the Yankees defeated the Mets in the World Series in 5 games.

While surpassing the Yankees briefly in fans and total income during a successful run in the 1980’s, the Mets have always lagged behind the Yankees both in ticket sales and total revenues. The team has not had a winning season in some time, last making the playoffs in 2006.

This is why it is not so surprising that Mr. Katz would rather cash out on his stake in the team today than to bequeath it to his children. His children are said to not be interested in any ownership of the Mets.

Katz apparently tried to convince his brother in law, Fred Wilpon, to sell his share of the team too. But Wilpon, 74, has no interest in selling. His son Jeff is currently the Mets’ chief operating officer and Fred Wilpon wants to turn the franchise over to him someday.

But Mr. Katz has denied the reports of his wanting to sell out saying, “I have no intention of selling my share of the Mets nor have I ever had any intention of selling my share.”

In 1980, Wilpon bought a 1% stake in the Mets when the team’s original owners sold it. The rest was bought by Nelson Doubleday’s Doubleday & Co. When Doubleday sold his company in 1986, the two men purchased the team from it for $81 million, becoming equal partners. In 2002, Mr. Doubleday retired and Fred Wilpon bought his 50% for $135 million.

Today Katz and Wilpon own a combined two thirds interest in the team. If Mr. Katz were to sell his share then Mr. Wilpon would no longer control the Mets as his personal stake amounts to less than 50%. Financial woes at their Sterling Enterprises related to the Bernard Madoff scandal led the two to sell pieces of the Mets to different investors, including comedian Bill Maher.

Saul Katz is the president of the New York Mets and president of the Brooklyn Cyclones, the Mets’ minor league affiliate. He also co founded Sterling equities, where he serves as its chief operating officer and directs its day to day real estate operations. A certified public accountant and graduate of Brooklyn College, Katz also presides over Sterling’s subsidiary companies which deal in entertainment, manufacturing and retail.

Fred Wilpon is the co-founder and chairman of the board of Sterling Equities and the chairman of the board of the New York Mets. The 77 year old Brooklyn native began his career building townhouses in Tarrytown New York.

He and his wife run the Judy and Fred Wilpon Family Foundation, which has donated $5 million to the University of Michigan’s College of Literature, Science, and the Arts to establish the Irene and Morris B. Kessler Presidential Scholarship Fund, named in honor of his wife’s parents. The Wilpons have also donated $5 million to create the University of Michigan Bone & Joint Injury Prevention & Rehabilitation Center, and $4 million for the Wilpon Baseball and Softball Complex. Both are graduates of the school.

 

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