With Citibank shares plunging 22 percent yesterday and management announcing a suspension of dividends, whispers in the financial community say Citi may not be able to pay off Mets naming-rights deal.
In the end, it may not be public outrage that kills Citibank’s naming-rights deal for the new New York Mets ballpark: it may be the bank’s bottom line.
With Citibank shares plunging 22 percernt yesterday and management announcing a suspension of dividends, whispers in the financial community say Citi may not be able to pay off Mets naming-rights deal, set at $400 million over 20 years.
Things right now are at the whisper stage, and we’re not ready to proclaim the deal is in danger of being canceled. For those outside the financial world, the announcement that dividends would be suspended is a huge deal: dividends are seen as reassurances to stockholders that a financial institution is on solid ground, and a suspension is a very dramatic move.
Still, if Citibank manages to walk away from the deal, don’t expect the Mets to go with Jackie Robinson Stadium or the New Shea as George Vescey suggests in a naive fashion. The bottom line is that the Mets need a naming-rights deal, and it would not take the team long to shop around rights should CItibank withdraw. But, we’re still at the point where that’s a very big if.