From Jon Friedman, MarketWatch.com
The owner of the New York Mets, will be forced to sell the baseball
franchise as soon as 2010 after incurring heavy Bernie Madoff-related
investment losses, an author of a book on Madoff says.
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- Fred Wilpon, the owner of the New York
Mets, will be forced to sell the baseball franchise as soon as 2010
after incurring heavy Bernie Madoff-related investment losses.
So says Erin Arvedlund, author of "Too Good to Be True," a new book
from publisher Portfolio that has gotten a big buzz in its first few
weeks by detailing the evil deeds of the disgraced New York hedge fund
manager. Madoff, who is serving a prison sentence, has become the
poster child for Wall Street's excessive corruption, greed and
"You can quote me," Arvedlund said of a possible sale of the Mets. "It's a matter of when. It could be as soon as next year."
Arvedlund estimates the Wilpon family may have lost as much as $700
million on Madoff-related investments that went awry. Mets management
has been criticized for failing to acquire such stars as Manny Ramirez
-- and many fans suspected that the team couldn't afford to obtain such
"As I understood it, they knew each other from way back when,"
Arvedlund told me. "Wilpon was one of the big real-estate magnates who
was a Madoff investor."
A Mets spokeswoman said on Thursday by e-mail: "The numbers
speculated continue to be inaccurate. We refute what has been reported.
As we have said on numerous occasions, losses incurred by the Sterling
Partners do not and will not affect the day-to-day operations and
long-term plans of the Mets organization. The team is not for sale in
any respect." Wilpon's Sterling company controls the Mets franchise.
Still, the media have speculated about Wilpon's prospects.
The New York Times (NYT, US) has written: "Perhaps most troubling is
the possibility that losses incurred by Sterling Equities could put
pressure on Wilpon to raise money by selling other assets. Because
Sterling invested money directly with Madoff, Wilpon may have to come
up with money to reimburse some of his own investors for losses. That
may cause him to sell valuable assets, including a portion of his
ownership in the Mets."
In April, Forbes pegged the Mets to have a value of $912 million.
The Mets ranked as the second-most valuable baseball franchise,
trailing only the New York Yankees. See Forbes story. http://www.forbes.com/lists/2009/33/baseball-values-09_New-York-Mets_334564.html