Chelsea sale: Wait to discover Raine Group’s preferred bidders drags on

The interested parties bidding for the Blues had expected to receive word on their candidacy on either Monday or Tuesday

Chelsea’s sale continues to generate major interest (John Walton/PA)
Chelsea’s sale continues to generate major interest (John Walton/PA)

Chelsea suitors’ anxious wait to discover the shortlist of preferred bidders for the Premier League club looked set to drag past Tuesday night.

New York merchant bank the Raine Group will continue compiling the bids to whittle down a shortlist as tight as three offers.

The interested parties bidding for the Blues had initially expected to receive word on their candidacy on either Monday or Tuesday.

But the complex nature of the bids and sheer volume of information left Raine opting to take more time putting together that shortlist.

Roman Abramovich

By close of business in the UK the various bidders for Chelsea had not received an update on the process. And Raine could require several more days yet to finalise the list.

Roman Abramovich put Chelsea up for sale on 2 March. The Russian-Israeli billionaire was understood to have already received several big offers for Chelsea within days of putting the Blues officially up for sale.

And that brisk interest has continued unabated, despite the 55-year-old being sanctioned by the UK government on 10 March.

Downing Street claimed to have proven Mr Abramovich’s direct links to Vladimir Putin, freezing all his UK assets including Chelsea, with the Blues operating under strict government licence.

Mr Abramovich cannot profit from Chelsea’s sale, but he had already pledged to write off the club’s £1.5bn debt.

American-backed bids from Los Angeles Dodgers part-owner Todd Boehly and Chicago Cubs owners the Ricketts family are among the front-runners to take over at Stamford Bridge.

Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts spoke to Chelsea and Fulham MP Greg Hands on Monday night, explaining long-held plans to meet Blues supporters groups in London.

The Ricketts family are understood to remain confident with the terms of their bid.

Sir Martin Broughton and Lord Sebastian Coe have another potent offering lodged, with strong financing secured and both front men proud of the submission.

Sebastian Coe

British property tycoon Nick Candy has also pushed hard with his bid for the Blues, even increasing his offer “significantly” on Monday.

Saudi Media Group is another of the bids understood to carry clout, and Raine are moving quickly through the process given Chelsea’s need for a fast transfer of ownership.

London-based global investment firm Centricus confirmed their bid on Monday, with a consortium comprising four Blues supporters.

Centricus co-founder Nizar Al-Bassam and chief executive Garth Ritchie launched the bid, alongside Cheyne Capital hedge fund manager Jonathan Lourie and Talis Capital’s Bob Finch.

Raine will put their eventual shortlist to the government for oversight, but Chelsea’s current board will have already had a hand in the process by that point.

Mr Abramovich was clear from the start on seeking a successor capable of continuing the Blues’ sustained success.

The influence of Chelsea’s board, in conjunction with Raine, in the shortlisting process should go some way to allaying Blues fans’ understandable current fears.

Emma Hayes

Chelsea’s women’s team manager Emma Hayes meanwhile revealed her hopes the government could find a way to amend the Blues’ licence to allow supporters to buy new tickets for future Chelsea matches.

“We need to let the board take the time to get it right,” said Ms Hayes. “That is right, that is the process and due diligence takes place and not rushing that decision so we get the right owner into the club.

“For me the priority is getting fans back into the stadium. For me I don’t know why this hasn’t happened yet.

“Surely we have to create a situation with a separate bank account so that the fans can come?

“I don’t think we should penalise those people, even within this situation.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in