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Sale of Syracuse Chiefs to New York Mets for $18M is now in shareholders’ hands

SYRACUSE — It’s now up to shareholders of the Syracuse Chiefs to decide whether they’ll approve the New York Mets’ purchase of the local baseball team for $18 million.

After the payment of certain obligations and transaction expenses, the sale will return about $1,400 per share to the club’s shareholders, the minor-league team said.

The Chiefs included the figures in an Oct. 19 news release saying the Triple-A team had sent out the notice and proxy statement for the special meeting of the shareholders to approve the Mets’ purchase. The meeting is set for Nov. 17 at 4 p.m. at NBT Bank Stadium. It’s for shareholders only and is not open to the public.

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The Chiefs are asking the shareholders to return their proxies before Nov. 17 and “vote in support of the merger agreement,” according to the release. By returning the proxy, a shareholder does not have to attend the meeting. To approve the transaction, two-thirds of the shares must vote for it, the team said. 

The proxy statement details the merger agreement between the two organizations. One of the proxy statement’s stipulations indicates that Syracuse Chiefs general manager Jason Smorol will receive a one-time payment of $35,000 as compensation for his efforts related to the merger and to “incentivize him to remain with the company as it transitions its ownership and operations to the New York Mets, in order to minimize any disruption to the day-to-day operations of the Syracuse Chiefs.” 

The Mets have agreed to operate in the Syracuse market through at least the 2025 season. The current stadium lease term goes through 2025.

Three approvals are required to complete the transaction. They include shareholder approval, professional baseball’s support, and Onondaga County’s consent under the stadium lease. 

The Chiefs are “confident” they will get all three approvals, which would ensure professional baseball “remains in Syracuse for at least eight more years.” 

The sale should close in December.

The Community Baseball Club of Central New York Inc., which owns the rights to operate the Syracuse Chiefs Triple-A baseball franchise, on Oct. 10 announced the agreement to sell the club to the Mets. It didn’t disclose the sale price until now.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Onondaga County Executive Joanne Mahoney, and Mets COO Jeff Wilpon made the official announcement inside NBT Bank Stadium.

The Mets also plan to have the Chiefs function as their Triple-A affiliate, beginning in 2019. The Chiefs will complete their time as a Washington Nationals farm team at the end of the 2018 season.                  

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