Thursday Jun 30, 2022
Thursday Jun 30, 2022

Jim Ratcliffe launches late $5 billion bid to buy Chelsea

2022 Apr 29, 20:03, London

British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe launched a late bid to buy Chelsea for 4.25 billion pounds ($5.3 billion) on Friday as three offers featuring American investors were already being assessed as the sale process nears a conclusion.

Chelsea was put up for sale in March after Russia owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned by the British government over his ties to President Vladimir Putin following the invasion of Ukraine.

Ratcliffe, the chairman of chemical giant INEOS, is a Chelsea fan who owns European teams Nice and Lausanne as well as a cycling team and Britain’s America’s Cup sailing team.

INEOS said that 2.5 billion pounds ($3.1 billion) of the bid is committed to a charitable trust to help victims of the war in Ukraine. Another 1.75 billion pounds ($2.2 billion) will be invested in the club over the next 10 years.

“This is a British bid, for a British club,” INEOS said. “We believe that a club is bigger than its owners who are temporary custodians of a great tradition. With responsibility to the fans and the community.”

The sale is being overseen by a New York-based merchant bank, the Raine Group, and the British government must sign off on the process under the terms allowing Chelsea to continue operating since Abramovich’s assets were frozen.

The Raine group had whittled down the contenders to three bids.

One consortium features proposed investment from Josh Harris and David Blitzer, the owners of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers who would have to sell their stakes in Premier League club Crystal Palace to buy Chelsea.

Another bid has seen Boston Celtics co-owner Steve Pagliuca partner with Larry Tanenbaum, who has ownership stakes in Toronto with the NBA’s Raptors, the NHL’s Maple Leafs and the city’s MLS team. Peter Guber, a part-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, is also backing in the group.

Another part-owner of the Dodgers, Todd Boehly, is leading another consortium hoping to be announced as the preferred bidder.

Chelsea has won 21 trophies in 19 years of Abramovich’s ownership, relying on his lavish investment to become one of Europe’s most successful clubs.


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