The New York Mets, financially struggling in the wake of investments with Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme, announced Thursday that a deal to sell a minority stake in the club for $200 million is off.
Talks collapsed with hedge fund manager David Einhorn after months of negotiations. Einhorn announced in May he would buy a stake in the Major League Baseball team, calling it a win-win deal.
On Thursday, he said last-minute changes to the deal made it a non-starter.
"The extensive nature of changes that were proposed to me at the last minute has made a successful transaction impossible," Einhorn said in a statement.
The Mets, who received a loan last November from Major League Baseball, would have had an easier time paying debts and operating expenses with the money from Einhorn in the wake of their losses in the Madoff scheme.
A court trustee seeking to obtain money for victims of Madoff's scam has made a claim for $1 billion against the Mets and a federal court trial is set for next March, just as the Mets would be preparing to launch the 2012 season.
"We are very confident in the team's plans both off and on the field," Mets chairman and CEO Fred Wilpon said. "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."
Wilpon said the Mets are not under financial pressure to close a deal for new investment money quickly.
ESPN reported Einhorn would have had a chance to boost his stake to about 60 percent, a controlling interest, within three to five years, but the Wilpon family could block that by returning his $200 million while allowing him to keep a one-sixth share of the Mets.