Comcast and Charter Are Selling Their Stakes in the Mets

(Bloomberg) -- At least 10 percent of the New York Mets is going up for sale, according to people familiar with the matter.

Three minority owners, and possibly others, are selling their stakes, according to the people, who asked for anonymity because the matter isn’t public. The sellers include Comcast and Charter through their investment in the team’s broadcast network, SNY, which is the official owner of their stake. The companies remain investors in the network.

The sale is being run by Inner Circle Sports, a sports-focused boutique investment bank in New York, the people said. The Mets, Inner Circle, Charter and Comcast declined to comment.

Comcast and Charter never really wanted to own any part of the team, one of the people said. Their 2012 investment was more of a favor to team owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz, who at the time were being sued by the trustee representing the victims of Bernie Madoff.

Worried about the suit, Wilpon and Katz sold a dozen 4-percent stakes at $20 million each. The new investors were guaranteed 3 percent interest, compounded annually, for six years. The investors had no control over the team and were exempt from capital calls during that time.

The owners ended up settling the lawsuit for $162 million. Some of the cash raised from investors was used to repay loans, cover operating expenses and reduce debt.