UPDATE: Via Andy Martino of the New York Daily News, the Mets have released the following statement:
“The bridge loan was approved by Major League Baseball and the syndicate of lenders to the Mets. The process for the sale of minority shares in the team continues to go very well.”
7:22 PM: Just in case the Mets’ offseason approach didn’t make it obvious enough already, the team’s owners remain hard up for cash.
According to Michael S. Schmidt and Richard Sandomir of the New York Times, the Wilpons and Saul Katz received a $40 million loan from Bank of America in the past six weeks. It’s being described as a “bridge loan” as they attempt to raise money through the sale of minority stakes. The Mets received a $25 million loan from MLB earlier this year, but have been unable to repay it.
People familiar with the team’s situation have said the owners had firm commitments from at least seven investors interested in buying a small share of the team for $20 million apiece. Still, until all are sold, none of the investors have had to turn over cash.
Vince Gennaro, a consultant to several major league teams, said that the $40 million loan “says to me that their finances continue to be tight, that there is a cash pinch.”
He added: “The team underperformed, and this tides them over until they get their money. They need cash flow.”
Now, Gennaro said, between the bridge loan and the $25 million owed to baseball, “the first $65 million has to go out the door” should the team sell an adequate number of shares in the team.
Two people with knowledge of the team’s finances told Schmidt and Sandomir that the Wilpons and Katz may have to consider selling the team if a full lineup of minority investors is not in place by next spring, though they have publicly expressed confidence on the matter.