- Associated Press
Thursday, September 1, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) - The New York Mets owners say the deal is off to sell a minority stake in the team to hedge fund manager David Einhorn for $200 million.

The sides were unable to reach an agreement after months of negotiations, the team said in a statement Thursday. The Mets said in May that Einhorn would buy into the club.

The Mets’ ownership group, led by Fred Wilpon, has been stuck in a legal and financial mess stemming from investments with Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff. A court trustee trying to recover losses for victims of the scam has made a $1 billion claim against the Mets, with a federal court trial date set for next March in the case.

The Mets got a loan from Major League Baseball last November. The influx of money from Einhorn would have helped pay debts and cover operating expenses. MLB must approve such ownership deals.

“We are very confident in the team’s plans _ both off and on the field,” Wilpon said. “We will engage with other individuals, some who have been previously vetted by Major League Baseball, along with other interested parties, regarding a potential minority investment into the franchise. My partners and I thank David for his interest in considering this opportunity and wish him well in the future.”

Initially, Einhorn said the arrangement to buy into the team was fair and a “win-win agreement” for both sides. A spokesman for Einhorn did not immediately return a call seeking comment Thursday.

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