Meet The Mets New Owner Steve Cohen
While Steve Cohen has generally been an unknown to many Mets fans, he is a very famous person in the financial field inspiring books and televisions series. In fact, if you’ve ever seen the television show Billions, you get a glimpse of who Cohen is as it is a show loosely based on his life.
Specifically, it follows the investigation and criminal charges related to his alleged insider trading while he owned the now defunct SAC Capital. The end result of the indictment was Cohen paying $1.8 billion in fines, having to shut down the company, and his not being permitted to manage outside money for two years. To date, that is the largest fine ever paid.
As detailed in the New Yorker, this was not the first time Cohen had ever faced such charges, and even with the fines, it was not the only time he effectively beat the charges. In that articles, and in his persona showed in books and on television, Cohen is a rich, driven individual with a healthy ego, terrific instincts, and a winner-take-all mentality.
That is something which should be music to Mets fans ears.
He is someone when he finds something he loves, he does all he can do to get it. That is evidenced by his extensive art collection. Fortune estimates it is worth more than $1 billion, which parenthetically, is more than Fred Wilpon is personally worth. That collection includes a Picasso he purchased for $139 million and the L’homme au doigt sculpture for $141.3 million. Already, many have cracked jokes about how Cohen paid more for these pieces than the Mets have spent on any player, including David Wright and Jacob deGrom, who are the two highest paid players in team history.
As passionate as he is about his art collection, he may even more passionate about the Mets. As noted by the New York Times, Cohen is from Great Neck, and he grew up a Mets fan. He’s remained that way jumping on the chance to purchase an 8% share of the team in 2012. Moreoever, as noted by the New York Daily News, he counts Omar Minaya and Bobby Valentine as personal friends.
In addition to being personal friends, Cohen is soon going to be their employer. Under the terms of the agreement, Cohen will soon take a majority share interest in the team which will grow to 80% at some point over the ensuing five years. As part of that deal, Fred Wilpon and Jeff Wilpon will remain in their respective roles as CEO and COO, but based upon those who know him, this may just be titles.
As noted by Forbes, people “do not believe for a second that the Wilpons will be running the team for a nanosecond if the transaction is approved by MLB.” When and if that happens, Cohen, who is estimated to be worth $13.2 billion, will become the richest owner in baseball.
There is real promise he wants to put that money into action. As a friend of Cohen’s told Joel Sherman of the New York Post, “He grew up a Mets fan [in Great Neck]. He went to games in the Polo Grounds. He has deep pockets. He is a passionate fan. If I were a Met fan, I would expect that means more money [for payroll].” Another Cohen friend told Mike Puma of the New York Post, “Cohen ‘will play the game at the highest level’ in regards to spending on players.”
This could be a new dawn for Mets fans. However, while Cohen has been approved by Major League Baseball to be a minority owner, there are some obstacles to his approval.
Cohen has been investigated multiple times for insider trading, and Major League Baseball may be shy at a time with the Astros cheating scandal, and with years ago, the Cardinals being the subject of an FBI hacking investigation. This is not the only issue with Cohen.
When SAC Capital was closed, he founded and ran Point72. That company was sued for gender bias accusing Cohen, his company, and its executives “violated equal-pay laws, engaged in gender discrimination and retaliated against her by denying a promotion after she reported her superior for harassment.” (CNBC). The case would be settled with no published details.
Even with Cohen’s charitable endeavors, specifically The Cohen Network, there has been some controversy. Fortune noted Cohen’s charity closed a clinic for veterans within a year, and it was noted the staff was told to “prioritize healthier patients over homeless veterans.” The article paints a picture of a disorganized foray into the field leading to a number of errors. However, it should be noted, the entire plan was not abandoned, and Cohen pushed onward.
Still, Cohen has something which has proven elusive to the Wilpons and the Mets for nearly a decade – financial stability. At a time where baseball is worried about attendance and interest in the game, Cohen buying the Mets is a breath of fresh air. It is set to rejuvenate the best fanbase in all of baseball in the largest media market in the world.
No matter what people think of Cohen, he has continued to show he will be successful at all costs, and so far, no one has been able to stop him from being successful. He’s now primed to take what made him enormously successful and richer than anyone in baseball and apply those talents and that wealth to the New York Mets.