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Mets/Einhorn deal collapses

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New York Mets

David Einhorn's bid to buy a minority share of the New York Mets has fallen through, leaving the team to beat the bushes for other limited investors.

The official word is that the Mets ownership, which could owe upwards of a billion dollars as a result of investments with swindler Bernie Madoff, can cover this year's losses -- expected to be $70 million or so -- with existing lines of credit. Still, the loss of $200 million in capital from the hedge-fund management will be felt. The team, according to The New York Times, will be seeking new limited partners willing to put up $20 million for extremely small, non-operating shares of the team.

One thing we've heard from several sources: the two sides couldn't agree on the exact parameters of how Einhorn could achieve control of the team in five years. At the end of the day, the Mets owners simply weren't willing to give up the team, despite the financial cloud hanging over their heads.

Here's the official announcement from the Mets:

The New York Mets' Owners announced today that their period of exclusive negotiations with David Einhorn regarding a minority, non-operating interest in the Mets has expired and Ownership has decided not to extend the exclusive negotiating period any further. After months of negotiation, the parties were unable to reach agreement, and Mets Ownership has decided to explore other options.

Ownership has provided additional capital to cover all 2011 losses and is moving forward with the necessary resources to continue to operate the franchise. Ownership will explore other strategic transactions and is under no financial pressure to do a deal on any particular schedule.

"We are very confident in the team's plans - both off and on the field," said Mets Chairman and CEO Fred Wilpon. "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."

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