Who is Steven A Cohen, the new Mets owner? A look at his net worth, racketeering charges and old controversies
Cohen will reportedly take the reigns from Fred Wilpon — who served as CEO and owner of the team — with son Jeff Wilpon as the COO and Fred's brother-in-law Saul Katz as team president
The New York Mets baseball team has a new owner. Billionaire Steve Cohen reached an agreement Monday to purchase the majority ownership of the New York Mets from the Wilpon and Katz families for a reported value of about $2.42 billion. “I am excited to have reached an agreement with the Wilpon and Katz families to purchase the New York Mets,” Cohen said in a statement from the team announcing the deal.
Owned by the Wilpon family since 2002, the franchise was bought at a valuation of $391 million. In December, they decided to let billionaire hedge fund manager Steven Cohen take charge of up to 80 percent of the Major League Baseball team after he bought an 8% limited partnership stake for $40 million in 2012. The deal valued the club at $2.6 billion at that time. Back in February, the proposed deal still gave control of the franchise to Wilpons for five years but negotiations fell apart due to Cohen's unwillingness to amend the terms.
Announcing the latest decision, the official Twitter account of New York Mets posted, “The Sterling Partners have signed an agreement with Steve Cohen pursuant to which Mr. Cohen would purchase the New York Mets.” The tweet further read, “The sale transaction is subject to the approval of the Major League Baseball Club Owners.”
Cohen will reportedly take the reigns from Fred Wilpon — who served as CEO and owner of the team — with son Jeff Wilpon as the COO and Fred's brother-in-law Saul Katz as team president. Here's a look at the hedge fund billionaire's life and past controversies.
Who is Steve Cohen?
Born as Steven A Cohen on June 11, 1956, he is a billionaire hedge fund manager, the founder of hedge fund Point72 Asset Management and now-closed SAC Capital Advisors. With a penchant for art, Cohen is the owner of one of the world's most valuable private art collections — including Koons's Rabbit, Picasso's Le Rêve, and Hirst's The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living — valued at over $1 billion.
Raised by a Jewish family in Great Neck, New York, he lived with his father who was a dress manufacturer in Manhattan's garment district and his mother who taught piano for a living along with seven brothers and sisters. As a student, he would often bet money in tournaments and play poker. He first graduated from John L Miller Great Neck North High School in 1974 and then received an economics degree from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1978.
He started his career with a Wall Street job as a junior trader in the options arbitrage department at Gruntal & Co and if reports are to be believed, he made an $8,000 profit on his first day. With dreams to start his own company, he pooled in $10 million from his own pocket and another $10 million from outside capital to start SAC Capital Advisors in 1992. The company's name 'SAC Capital' came from Steven A Cohen's initials.
Racketeering scandal and net worth
Back in December 2009, Cohen and his brother Donald T Cohen were sued by Steven's ex-wife Patricia Cohen for racketeering and insider trading charges. Three years later, the charges became stronger as Cohen got embroiled in an alleged insider trading scandal that involved ex-SAC manager, Mathew Martoma. In 2013, the company pleaded guilty and agreed to pay $1.8 billion in fines after which the company was forced to shut down.
The case went on to become one of the biggest criminal cases against a hedge fund following investigations undertaken by Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York from 2009 to 2017. However, a Financial Times article said, Cohen “escaped criminal indictment himself despite being the living, breathing heart of S.A.C. Capital.” The businessman then founded Point72 Ventures, “a venture capital fund that makes early-stage investments,” in 2016.
As per Forbes, Cohen is worth $14.6 billion now and his company has reopened to outside money in 2018 after the expiration of a two-year supervisory bar from the Securities and Exchange Commission. Ranked #94 on Time Magazine's top 100 list of most influential people in 2007, he has reportedly donated $715 million to philanthropic causes over his lifetime, including causes related to veterans and children's health.