Report: Cohen Won't Buy Mets Stake

May 11 2011 | 11:52am ET

Hedge fund titan and noted New York Mets fan Steven Cohen is out of the running to buy a minority stake in the baseball team.

Cohen, who had been the frontrunner to become an owner of the Mets and who last week met the Mets' current owners over dinner in Greenwich, Conn., dropped out due to questions Major League Baseball has about the Justice Department's ongoing insider-trading investigation, including a look at his own trades, the New York Post reports.

It is the second time Cohen has backed off from the Mets; he rejected a personal appeal from Fred Wilpon earlier this year to buy a stake in the team.

Cohen's exit means that Mets owners Fred Wilpon, Jeff Wilpon and Saul Katz have returned to previously-spurned bidders and asked them to make new offers. It also means they won't name a preferred bidder at this week's MLB owners' meeting.

The Mets owners, facing more than $1 billion in potential liabilities stemming from the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme case, hope to sell up to 49% of the team for at least $200 million.

Cohen was poised to beat out three other finalists, including SkyBridge Capital founder Anthony Scaramucci. If they expand the field to bidders who didn't make the semi-final cut, there could be a great deal of interest in the alternative investments community. Former bidders included Marc Spilker, Goldman Sachs' former head of hedge funds and president of Apollo Global Management, Leo Hindery of private equity shop Intermedia Partners, Marc Utay of p.e. firm Clarion Capital Partners, and Steven Starker, co-founder of BTIG, a broker-dealer catering to the alts. community.

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