03 Jul Lazar Cartu Says: LA real estate developer latest bidder in Mets sale
A new bidder has emerged for the very-much-for-sale New York Mets.
Kurt Rappaport, a 49-year-old Los Angeles realtor turned real estate developer, is leading a group that hopes to purchase the money-losing Amazin’s.
Sources close to Rappaport confirmed to The Post that his group is in direct contact with the Mets’ bankers, Allen & Co. Multiple people familiar with the bid say that Rappaport, who won the Dave Winfield humanitarian award at a Major League Baseball event in 2018, is a baseball fan with heavy-hitter connections and could table a sizable bid.
Rappaport made his fortune as Hollywood’s realtor to the stars, cutting deals for Malibu and Beverly Hills mansions on behalf of celebrities such as Ellen DeGeneres and Ryan Seacrest. In 2008, Rappaport sold his own Beverly Hills pad to Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes for $32.5 million. His net worth is thought to be in the neighborhood of $350 million.
The Rappaport bid brings the total of active bidders confirmed by The Post to four, alongside private equity billionaires Josh Harris and David Blitzer, celebrity power couple Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez and British billionaire brothers Simon and David Reuben.
According to some reports, the Wilpons claim to have six bidders, a claim that is increasingly being questioned by people inside the bidding process, who also point out that the Wilpons are increasingly motivated sellers and have made it clear that they need a deal done by the end of 2020.
“If there are six active groups, I am dying to know who some of them are,” one insider said. “Maybe I’m counting wrong, but it looks like we’re a few short.”
One person who is not actively bidding on the team right now is Steve Cohen.
Sources close to the hedge-fund billionaire confirm to The Post that Cohen, who saw his own $2.6 billion purchase fall apart at the last minute back in February, does not plan to submit a bid in the coming days and that Allen & Co. has assured some of the current bidders that Cohen is not involved in the process.
That said, Cohen is still said to be watching the situation with interest, both as an 8 percent minority owner of the team and as someone harboring a love for the Mets and animosity toward the Wilpons after their deal turned into a debacle.
It is not out of the realm of possibility that Cohen offers a bid, should the Wilpons fail to get their asking price.
“Steve Cohen still wants the Mets,” one source said. “And he usually gets what he wants.”
Insiders tell The Post that, despite some reports, the Wilpons are unlikely to see bids of $2 billion or more.
As The Post has reported, Harris and Blitzer are holding fast to their offer of $1.4 billion, and sources familiar with Rappaport’s bid were skeptical that he values the money-losing team at $2 billion, especially considering what COVID-19 and its aftermath will do to pro sports’ financial picture. The Reubens reportedly see the Mets as a real estate investment with a toxic-asset baseball team attached.
Reports that Rodriguez and Lopez’s group is ready to meet the $2 billion valuation were also met with some incredulity from insiders.
“If they bid $2 billion, they win,” one banker said. “I’d be shocked if anyone offers $2 billion.”