Cohen, the hedge-fund billionaire who had previously offered $2.6 billion only to see the deal fall apart at the 11th hour, delivered the Wilpons an offer for $2 billion this time, according to a Fox Business report. That report stated Cohen is also willing to offer an additional $2 billion to also acquire SNY.
Cohen’s bid wasn’t the only one to come in before Thursday’s deadline.
Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez have their necessary funding and made a bid that is likely good enough to keep them in the game, sources told The Post.
The former Yankee slugger’s bidding group offered around $1.7 billion, two sources close to the situation said.
That is also in the range of the bid that came in from Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils owners Josh Harris and David Blitzer, sources said.
Cohen would likely need to pay about $250 million more than his nearest rival to buy the Mets after he tried unsuccessfully to rework his $2.6 billion deal in February to buy the team and then walked away, sources speculated.
That means he will need to pay more than $2 billion, sources said.
Mets COO Jeff Wilpon would prefer to sell the team to J-Rod if their offer is close to the best bid at the end of the auction, several sources said.
Fred Wilpon’s Mets set Thursday as the deadline for suitors to make opening-round offers and disclose all their investors, and what percentage of the team each of those investors would own.
In the coming days the Mets will decide how many suitors to invite into the second round of the auction.
A-Rod and J.Lo are believed to be worth $750 million, putting them at a significant disadvantage to their billionaire rivals.
But they showed their investor list that includes Florida Panthers owner and billionaire Vinny Viola, who is contributing about $200 million to the bidding group, and it appears all the financing is in place, sources said.
A buyer can only borrow about $400 million against the Mets, so would need to put down $1.3 billion in a $1.7 billion bid, sources said.
Cohen has cast a pall over the auction for weeks and can outspend any of his rivals.
The question remains whether he can be approved to buy the Mets by the necessary three-quarters of MLB owners.
Soon the Wilpons, working with their adviser Allen & Co., are expected to poll MLB owners to see how comfortable they are approving Cohen, sources said.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred in February took the Wilpons’ side when talks with Cohen fell apart saying, “The assertion that the transaction fell apart because of something the Wilpons did is completely and utterly unfair.”
The owners will want someone they can trust to help in their upcoming collective bargaining talks with the players, a source said.