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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Einhorn Pulls Out of Mets Deal

The New York Mets are at least one step closer to bankruptcy.

The rumored deal between beleaguered Mets owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz, and hedge fund manager David Einhorn, is off after several attempts to restructure the outline of a deal.

Wilpon and the family's Sterling Equities LP business have been targeted in a clawback suit by the bankruptcy trustee for the former businesses of uber-crook Bernard Madoff. The trustee has at various times sought to reclaim between $300 million and $1 billion in net gains from Wilpon, family members and affiliates. This legal exposure -- in addition to any possible criminal liability -- threatens the Wilpons' ability to fund the Mets' ongoing operations.

A new investor will have to agree on the outline of a deal, do the customary business and financial due diligence, and finalize the deal. These steps may take long enough that it is doubtful they would be complete in time for the start of the free agency negotiating period in November.

The chances of Jose Reyes staying with the Mets have just declined.

(Eric Dixon is a New York lawyer and strategic analyst.)

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