Why the battle for ownership at Chelsea will rumble on for a little longer
Chelsea’s four prospective new owners have an April 11 deadline to submit their final bids to buy the Blues.
New York merchant bank the Raine Group has set that deadline for final bids to keep Chelsea on course to have new owners in May, the PA news agency understands.
Chelsea’s remaining suitors will have the chance to table improved offers to buy the Stamford Bridge club, with commitments required for at least £1billion of future spending.
Chelsea have instructed Raine to seek those future spending commitments in a bid to safeguard the west London club’s future at football’s elite level.
Boston Celtics co-owner Stephen Pagliuca was the final addition to the four-strong shortlist to buy Chelsea on Friday. The 67-year-old billionaire co-chairman of Bain Capital boasts a strong offering to buy the Blues.
Chicago Cubs owners the Ricketts family, former Liverpool chairman Sir Martin Broughton and LA Dodgers part-owner Todd Boehly are the other bidders still in the race.
The Raine Group spent Thursday informing a host of unsuccessful bidders they were out of the auction before starting the process of confirming the shortlist in the race to buy the Blues.
Celtics supremo Pagliuca and Cubs owners the Ricketts were understood to have been informed by Raine early on Friday afternoon in New York time.
US magnate Boehly and his Eldridge Industries firm has backing from Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss and respected British business leader Jonathan Goldstein.
Former British Airways chairman Broughton has drafted in sports business and politics heavyweight Lord Sebastian Coe, adding genuine clout to his consortium. Wall Street investment banker Michael Klein has added a major financial edge.
The Cubs-owning Ricketts family boast the financial muscle of US hedge fund supremo Ken Griffin, believing their experience of renovating storied stadium Wrigley Field offers an edge in their candidacy given Stamford Bridge’s required rebuild.
The Ricketts family are yet to allay supporters concerns however, but are working hard to prove their suitability to take the Stamford Bridge helm.
Roman Abramovich put Chelsea up for sale on 2 March, amid Russia’s continued invasion of Ukraine.
The Russian-Israeli billionaire was then sanctioned by the Government on 10 March.
The Blues must operate under strict Government licence, with Abramovich unable to profit from Chelsea’s sale.
Downing Street must approve another new licence to authorise Chelsea’s eventual sale, with the money either frozen or distributed to charitable funds to aid victims of the war in Ukraine.
Abramovich has pledged to write off Chelsea’s £1.5bn debt and the bidding frenzy for the club could see the eventual deal hit £3bn.
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