Report: Mets seeking bids by next week

The New York Mets are asking for initial bids to come in by early next week for a minority piece of the team, and a stake in cable channel SportsNet New York (SNY) could be part of the sale, the New York Post reported Wednesday.

Mets owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz, facing a $1 billion lawsuit from Bernie Madoff trustee Irving Picard, said in January that they were seeking a buyer for a minority stake.

The bidding groups for the ailing team who have been approved by Major League Baseball are being told to make non-binding offers Monday and Tuesday, several sources said.

Some hurdles exist, including: whether the minority stake satisfies investors who now know the team is losing $50 million, and whether the team will be valued highly enough so sale proceeds fund the Mets until attendance rises.

Throwing in part of the owners’ 65 percent stake in the separately owned and the profitable sports network SNY as a sweetener for suitors who do not feel the team is worth close to the Mets’ guidance of roughly $1 billion might help.

Although press reports have said to the contrary, the Mets believe they can sell a stake in SNY without permission from SNY investment partners Time Warner and Comcast, a source said.

Still, two separate sources close to potential bidders who are interested in SNY, but not the Mets, said the team has said that SNY is not for sale.