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The financially strapped owners of the New York Mets obtained a $40 million "bridge loan" from Bank of America in recent weeks to continue operations until minority shares of the team can be sold, the team acknowledged in a statement Monday.
"The bridge loan was approved by Major League Baseball and the syndicate of lenders to the Mets," the team's statement read. "The process for the sale of minority shares in the team continues to go very well."
Major League Baseball previously loaned the team $25 million this year, which has yet to be repaid.Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said last week that the organization lost $70 million this year. On Wednesday, Alderson said he was unaware of ownership seeking the newest $40 million loan until it came to his attention this week. "I wasn't even aware of the loan until yesterday, so it couldn't have had any impact on what I've done," Alderson said. "On the other hand, I'm not surprised. With losses that we sustained last year, they have to be funded somehow -- and that's either with cash or debt. I think a bridge loan makes perfect sense given the investments that are expected to close in January."
Mets principal owner Fred Wilpon and family hoped to receive a $200 million cash infusion from prospective minority investor David Einhorn, but that deal unraveled in September.
Wilpon and family since have sought to secure roughly 10 minority investors at $20 million apiece. A source familiar with that pursuit recently told ESPNNewYork.com the Mets had commitments from seven investors, but that none of the money had yet to be collected.
Those $20 million blocks can be viewed as investments or loans. That is because the purchasers of minority shares have the option of having their principal returned in six years at 3 percent annual interest -- essentially making it a six-year certificate of deposit rather than a long-term purchase of a stake in the team. Alternatively, the purchasers can choose in six years to remain minority investors in the team.
The loan was first reported by the New York Times.Adam Rubin covers the Mets for ESPNNewYork.com.