Billionaire Steve Cohen closes takeover of New York Mets

FILE PHOTO: Steven Cohen, Chairman and CEO of Point72 Asset Management, speaks at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, U.S., May 2, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo

(Reuters) - Billionaire hedge fund manager Steve Cohen on Friday completed the purchase of the New York Mets baseball team in a reported $2.4 billion deal, a record for a North American sports franchise.

The 64-year-old Cohen, who is a New York native and a lifelong Mets fan, signed an agreement with Sterling Partners to buy the team in September.

“It’s official, we are closed,” Cohen wrote on his personal Twitter page on Friday.

“I want to thank everybody who helped make this happen. The 2021 season is right around the corner and we’ve got a lot of work to do, so I’m excited to get started,” he added in a tweet posted on the team’s official page.

“Let’s go Mets!”

Cohen, who failed to purchase a majority stake last November, had to outbid former New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez and his pop star fiancee Jennifer Lopez to buy the team.

The deal valued the club - which was founded in 1962 and has won two World Series titles, the last one coming in 1986 - at $2.4 billion, the New York Daily News and Newsday reported.

The transaction ends Fred Wilpon’s ownership involvement with the team, which dates back to 1980.

The owners of the Major League Baseball clubs voted in favor of the sale last Friday.

Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles and Aishwarya Nair in Bengaluru; editing by John Stonestreet