Would-Be Mets Owner Einhorn First Sought To Buy Brewers

Jun 8 2011 | 9:54am ET

David Einhorn may bleed blue-and-orange now that he's on the verge of becoming a minority owner of the New York Mets, but the Flushing nine were not his first choice.

Seven years ago, the Greenlight Capital founder sought to buy the Milwaukee Brewers, the team he grew up rooting for after his family moved from New Jersey to Wisconsin when he was seven years old. But, not yet wise about the world of buying baseball teams, he was, in the words of The New York Times, either too timid or too late, both in his attempt to buy the team outright or to join the group that did.

The Brewers, then owned by the family of baseball commissioner Bud Selig, a neighbor of one of Einhorn's friends growing up, went to a group led by Mark Attanasio. According to Pershing Square Capital Management's William Ackman, a friend of Einhorn's, the Greenlight chief "kicked himself" over the lost opportunity.

"He looked seriously at the Brewers," Ackman told the Times.

Five years later, despite the sting of losing out on his hometown team, Einhorn was still serious, meeting with Major League Baseball President Bob DuPuy to learn about buying into baseball.

"He wanted to learn about the industry and what had happened over the past 10 years, but the discussion was not team-specific," DuPuy told the Times.

Five baseball teams, including the Chicago Cubs, have gone on the block since the Brewers sale was finalized in 2005. But Einhorn waited until this year, when the owners of the New York Mets, in dire financial straights, put a piece of their team up for sale. Einhorn last month was named the preferred bidder; he is believed to be negotiating a deal that would give him one-third of the team for what amounts to a $200 million loan.

To Einhorn's credit, he has not sought to deny his Brew-Crew heritage, despite e-mailing a picture of himself as a child dressed as New York Mets slugger Dave Kingman for one Halloween before the Einhorns decamped to the Midwest. Even last year, when asked who his favorite team was by The Wall Street Journal, Einhorn responded with an emphatic, "Brewers!"

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