Hedge fund billionaire Steve Cohen is buying the Mets CNN

Steve Cohen and Damian Lewis

Steve Cohen and Damian Lewis

A hedge fund manager whose company paid $1.8 billion in USA criminal and civil settlements is in negotiations to increase his stake in the New York Mets, who left open the possibility he eventually could become controlling owner. The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal first reported the news just minutes before the organization made a formal announcement (Twitter link). According to Bloomberg, which cited a person familiar with the matter, Cohen is in talks to purchase as much as an 80 percent stake in the team.

Cohen said his family office, Cohen Private Ventures, will manage his Mets stake, as it has since 2012. Fred became majority owner in 2002 after a bitter dispute with then-partner Nelson Doubleday Jr. that resulted in the sale of Doubleday's shares to Wilpon.

During that time the current owner, Fred Wilpon, 83, will continue to serve as the team's chairman. However, Bloomberg puts Cohen's current wealth at $9.2 billion.

Cohen controlled SAC Capital Advisors, which in 2013 pled guilty to criminal fraud charges. The team's fans have often focused their anger and disappointment on the Wilpons for their decisions on whether or not to sign players.

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That 2016 dismissal removed another legal overhang for Cohen, who converted SAC into Point72 Asset Management LP after SAC pleaded guilty in 2013 to criminal insider trading charges and paid $1.8 billion in settlements with US authorities.

"If I were a Met fan, I would expect that means more money [for payroll]", the New York Post was told. While he has had success in the world of finance, he's also had his share of problems. Cohen rooted for the Mets while growing up on Long Island and attended games at the Polo Grounds, where the team started out. 'Mets fans have won the offseason'.

Fred Wilpon is making the move as part of estate and philanthropic planning, the person said.

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