Monday, January 31, 2011

MLK III Interested in Purchasing a Stake in the Mets

According to Kevin Kernan of the New York Post, Martin Luther King III is interested in purchasing a stake in the Mets.  Unfortunately for the Wilpons, he wants more than the 20-25% they're looking to sell.
"According to Meli, King, 53, who runs the King Center in Atlanta, is scheduled to come to New York this week to set up a meeting with the Wilpons, who announced Friday they're looking to sell up to 25 percent of the team because of financial woes created by the Bernie Madoff mess.
King declined to comment on the particulars, but Meli said he and his group are looking to purchase at least 50 percent of the club. That could be a roadblock, but Meli said he hopes the two sides can work together.
"I think in order for it to make sense it would have to be at least a 50-50 arrangement," said Meli, a trusted friend of King.
As I mentioned in my post on Friday, the Wilpons are going to have a very difficult time selling only a minority stake in the team.  Ownership groups are rarely successful in such a feat, especially when they're selling such a sizable piece (20-25%) of the franchise.  King's statement that the purchase "would have to be at least a 50-50 arrangement," is one that will likely be echoed by most serious bidders going forward.  If I was a serious prospective bidder, I would be of the mindset of, "Why buy a quarter of franchise, when controlling interest isn't that much more?"  Relatively speaking, of course.  King's prospective ownership group includes former Met Ed Kranepool, businessman Don Clendenon, Jr., TV executive Larry Meli, and several others.

In a conversation I had the other day via Twitter with Evan Brunell of CBS's MLB Facts and Rumors (and founder of Fire Brand of the American League), he made a very interesting point.  While he agreed that it will be difficult for the Mets to sell and not give up controlling interest of the team, someone might be willing to agree to those conditions with an eye toward gaining controlling interest at some point down the line.  This could happen, but I don't consider it to be a likely outcome.  If it does, that bidder will become the obvious favorite. 

I do have one small issue with one thing King said.
"It's fitting with the legacy of Jackie Robinson essentially transferring to the Mets; what better place to have African-American ownership than with the Mets," Meli said, noting that Major League Baseball has no African-American owners.
The legacy of Jackie Robinson will always remain with the Dodgers.  If any bit of his legacy has transferred to the Mets, it's because they've blatantly tried to steal it. 

FYI - Check out Brunell's piece on the subject (for CBS's MLB Facts & Rumors). 

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