The Ricketts family, who own the Chicago Cubs, a consortium led by Lord Coe, and another group led by British property investor Nick Candy have all made bids for Chelsea.
After Russian owner Roman Abramovich put the Premier League club up for sale, a deadline for bids was set for 21:00 GMT on Friday. Candy, a Chelsea fan, stated that he has secured additional investment from South Korea and that his bid is “over £2bn”
Among the confirmed bidders are Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss, US businessman and Los Angeles Dodgers part-owner Todd Boehly, American public relations executive Barbara Charone, British businessman Jonathan Goldstein, and British journalist Daniel Finkelstein.
The consortium is collaborating with the American investment firm Clearlake Capital, which manages approximately $60 billion (£45.6 billion) in assets.
The attempt by Abramovich to sell the club was thwarted after he was sanctioned by the UK government and his assets, including Chelsea, were frozen.
This came in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and Abramovich is known to have close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Raine Group, an American investment firm, has been tasked with selling Chelsea, and the UK government is expected to issue a new licence allowing the club to be sold once a preferred buyer is identified.
Although the official deadline for bidding on the west London Premier League club was 21:00 GMT on Friday, some final bids are expected to be submitted over the weekend.
There are still over 20 interested parties, but the number of confirmed bids is expected to be between 10 and 15.
Chelsea and Raine Group will create a shortlist next week, with the preferred bidder requiring government approval, which will include proving the source of funds and where the money will be spent. Any sale must also pass the Premier League’s owners’ and directors’ test, also known as the ‘fit and proper person’s test.
A consortium led by ex-Liverpool chairman Sir Martin Broughton and Lord Coe submitted one of the bids.
“I can confirm that the two South Korean firms Hana Financial Group and C&P Sports Group are a significant part of Mr Candy’s global consortium of investors. ” said a spokesperson for Candy’s Blue Football Consortium. Their participation exemplifies Chelsea’s global brand and huge Asian fanbase.”
“Football clubs are vitally important community and cultural assets,” Candy continued, “and this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to give football back to the fans and put them at the heart of the operations and strategy of a leading global football club.”
The Ricketts family’s bid is backed by billionaire hedge fund entrepreneur Ken Griffin.
Muhsin Bayrak, a Turkish businessman who had previously expressed interest in the club, announced late Friday that his company, AB Group Holding, had not filed a bid.
Bayrak blamed AB Group’s failure to meet the deadline on a misunderstanding with his lawyers regarding the auction procedure, telling Reuters that he was “very upset” by the situation.
Who are the potential Chelsea bidders?
A consortium led by ex-Liverpool chairman Sir Martin Broughton and joined by Lord Coe, the chairman of London 2012.
The Ricketts family, owners of the Chicago Cubs in Major League Baseball, are leading a group of investors in a bid.
Hansjorg Wyss, a Swiss billionaire, and Todd Boehly, a US businessman, have formed a consortium to try to take over Chelsea. Barbara Charone, an American public relations executive, is now joined by Jonathan Goldstein, a British businessman, and Daniel Finkelstein, a British journalist.
Aethel Partners is a London-based investment firm led by Portuguese entrepreneur Ricardo Silva.
British multi-millionaire businessman Nick Candy is backed by former Chelsea striker Gianluca Vialli, who co-owns Tifosy, a football mergers and acquisitions firm, and is joined by Hana Financial Group and C&P Sports Group.
Other reported interested parties include US billionaire and Philadelphia 76ers owner Josh Harris, who owns Crystal Palace, New York Jets owner Woody Johnson, and a Saudi Arabia-based consortium.
Abramovich purchased Chelsea for £140 million in 2003, but in a statement announcing his intention to sell, he stated that his ownership was “never been about business nor money, but about pure passion for the game and club”
He values the club at £3 billion and has loaned the club £1.5 billion, but he has stated that he will not ask for any loans to be repaid. Abramovich has also stated that the sale proceeds will be donated to war victims.
The proceeds from the sale could be donated to a charitable organization or placed in a frozen account.
Chelsea has lost more than £900,000 per week since Roman Abramovich bought the club, despite having a wage bill of £28 million per month.
The majority of the organizations that have come forward are linked to American investors who own franchises in the NFL, NBA, and other sports leagues.
They will be looking to change the model in order to improve cost control at Chelsea, or to generate additional revenue.
We’re approaching a critical mass of American investment in the Premier League, so they may be looking to change the culture, perhaps with the goal of cutting back on spending to make it more profitable on a day-to-day basis.