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Source: Small blocks, no one partner

9/1/2011

With David Einhorn out as prospective minority partner, the Mets no longer are looking to sell one chunk of the team for $200 million or more. Instead, sources familiar with the organization's plans said Fred Wilpon and family will sell small blocks of the team to multiple family members and friends that add up to roughly the same amount.

For instance, one family member may purchase a $20 million block, a friend $15 million, etc. There will be no means to majority ownership. (If reported runner-up Ray Bartoszek wants a piece, he must now buy one of the smaller shares -- not the large chunk Einhorn was set to purchase, or that was originally discussed with Bartoszek.) There is confidence small purchases can be made quickly, as to not affect the team operations, and with no Major League Baseball obstacles. The money would go to MLB and bank loans and to stabilize the franchise.

A source aware of the matter said Einhorn's portrayal of the situation as the Wilpons continually changing terms is inaccurate. Instead, the source said, Einhorn figured he had the Wilpons in a bind and looked to exploit it, thinking minor late changes from the current owners to the agreement were a sign of weakness. So Fred Wilpon met with Einhorn on Thursday morning in midtown Manhattan and informed the hedge fund guru that the exclusive negotiating window had expired and they were no longer going to be entertaining him as a minority partner.

Einhorn had attended a game as recently as Tuesday night.