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Steve Cohen's $2.4 billion acquisition of the Mets is approved by MLB owners, Mayor de Blasio

Steve Cohen's $2.4 billion bid to buy the New York Mets has been approved by Major League Baseball's owners as well as Mayor Bill de Blasio, who reportedly could have vetoed the deal because of a clause contained inside the team's lease at CitiField in Queens.

'The New York City Law Department has completed its legal review of the proposed sale of the @Mets,' de Blasio tweeted Friday. 'New York City has no objections and the Mets can now proceed with the transaction.'

As reported by USA Today and other outlets, a clause in the team's 2006 CitiField lease allows the New York City Mayor to deny the sale of the team to a 'prohibited person' defined as 'any person that has been convicted in a criminal proceeding for a felony or any crime involving moral turpitude.'

Steve Cohen's $2.4 billion bid to buy the New York Mets has been approved by Major League Baseball's owners as well as Mayor Bill de Blasio, who reportedly could have vetoed the deal because of a clause contained inside the team's lease at Citi Field in Queens

As reported by USA Today and other outlets, a clause in the team's 2006 Citi Field lease allows the New York City Mayor to deny the sale of the team to a 'prohibited person' defined as 'any person that has been convicted in a criminal proceeding for a felony or any crime involving moral turpitude.' In recent days, the New York Post reported that de Blasio was searching for legal loopholes to block the deal to Cohen, but was unable to find cause. On Friday, Bill Neidhardt, a spokesperson for de Blasio, tweeted out a picture of a customized 'De Blasio' Mets jersey, signifying the Mayor's support (right)

Mayor Bill de Blasio gave his blessing for the sale on Friday afternoon on Twitter

STEVE COHEN'S STATEMENT 

I am humbled that MLB's owners have approved me to be the next owner of the New York Mets. Owning a team is a great privilege and an awesome responsibility.

I would like to thank the owners and Commissioner [Rob] Manfred and his team for welcoming me to Major League Baseball.

And I want to thank Fred Wilson for inviting me to buy into the franchise in 2012. Fred is one of the game's true gentlemen and I consider it an honor to be the new onwner of this iconic franchise.

Most of all, I'd like to thank Mets fans for their unwavering support throughout this process.

My family and I are lifelong Mets fans, so we're really excited about this. With free agency starting Sunday night we will be working towards a quick close.

Let's go Mets! 

Cohen has never been convicted of a crime, but his hedge fund, SAC Capital Investors, pleaded guilty to securities and wire fraud in 2013, ultimately agreeing to pay $1.8 billion in fines.

In recent days, the New York Post reported that de Blasio was searching for legal loopholes to block the deal to Cohen, but was unable to find cause. On Friday, Bill Neidhardt, a spokesperson for de Blasio, tweeted out a picture of a customized 'De Blasio' Mets jersey, signifying the Mayor's support. 

Now, in addition to de Blasio's approval, the deal reportedly has the blessing of at least 23 of the 30 clubs, allowing the 64-year-old hedge-fund billionaire to obtain 95 percent of the Mets. The outgoing owners — Fred Wilpon, his son Jeff, the COO, and Fred's brother-in-law Saul Katz — will retain a 5 percent stake.

Cohen outbid several high-profile investors, like a group led by Alex Rodriguez and his fiancée Jennifer Lopez, as well as Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils owner Josh Harris.

Citi Field (pictured) is built on city property, which is why Mayor de Blasio could deny the sale

Many New York Mets fans see billionaire Steve Cohen as something of a savior 

One fan, Doug Bearak, posted a GIF of noted Mets fan Jerry Seinfeld crying tears of joy

Mike Piazza, one of the club's most legendary players, was also happy to see the sale approved

The Long Island native and lifelong Mets fan had long been considered the favorite to buy the team, given his immense wealth, believed to be over $14 billion, according to Forbes, which gave the club a $2.4 billion valuation last year.

He offered $2.6 billion in late 2019, according to the Post. However that deal fell apart amid reported disagreements over the five-year transfer of the club to Cohen and the future role of Jeff Wilpon, the team's COO.

During the stalemate, Rodriguez and Lopez quickly added several high-profile investors to their group's $2 billion offer, including retired NFL legends Brian Urlacher, Joe Thomas, DeMarco Murray, and two-time NBA All-Star Bradley Beal, according to ESPN.

Some Mets fans have already customized their own Steve Cohen Mets t-shirts 

Ultimately Cohen, the CEO and president of Point72 Asset Management, received 8 percent of the team for $40 million.

Cohen is believed to be the basis for actor Damian Lewis's character on the Showtime series, 'Billions,' which focuses on a billionaire's battles with a federal prosecutor for the Southern District of New York.

He's also one of the world's most prominent art collectors, having once spent $141.3 million on Alberto Giacometti's 'Pointing Man' sculpture.

Cohen will sit atop the team's sixth ownership group.

The Wilpons have been criticized heavily in recent years, with fans often taking aim at their former financial relationship with convicted fraudster Bernie Madoff, as well as their reluctance to buy highly priced free agents.

On Friday, they responded with joy on social media.

One fan, Doug Bearak, posted a GIF of noted Mets fan Jerry Seinfeld crying tears of joy. Another posted a picture of a Jesus-like figure with Cohen's face walking on water to save a drowning man with the head of team mascot Mr. Met.

Mike Piazza, one of the club's most legendary players, was also happy to see the sale approved.

'Very Excited for this next chapter in @Mets history,' Piazza tweeted. 'This is a special day for all of us. Looking forward to the future with pride and optimism. Mr. Cohen, you have my full support and gratitude. Looking forward to seeing you all at @CitiField next year!'

The Mets are coming off a disappointing 26-34 season in which they tied for last place in the National League East for the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. 

The Mets are coming off a disappointing 26-34 season in which they tied for last place in the National League East for the pandemic-shortened 2020 season

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