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Thursday, November 17, 2011
Updated: November 18, 1:07 PM ET
Mets make progress in raising $200M

By Adam Rubin
ESPNNewYork.com

NEW YORK -- The New York Mets are making progress in their bid to raise roughly $200 million through selling minority ownership shares in the franchise, sources familiar with the sale told ESPNNewYork.com.

The infusion would help principal owner Fred Wilpon and family offset operating losses and loan obligations.

A source confirmed the Mets have commitments from investors to purchase approximately seven minority ownership shares at $20 million apiece. The New York Times first reported the story on Wednesday.

The Wilpons may sell additional investment blocks if demand exists, but would be content with the current $140 million pledged if no more commitments materialize, sources said.

Sources said the Wilpons are offering prospective buyers the ability to cash out in six years and receive interest on their investment, listed in multiple reports as 3 percent annually. That, in essence, means the investment could be viewed as a sort of bank certificate of deposit.

Alternatively, the investor could continue in a minority ownership role after six years without receiving the interest payment. There would be no path to majority ownership.

The strategy of selling $20 million shares is an attempt to offset the loss of a planned $200 million minority investment from hedge-fund operator David Einhorn. That prospective deal unraveled in September after months of negotiations.

Chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon's lone comments on the sale of small blocks came Oct. 31, when he described the process as "going very well."