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Who will buy Chelsea? Takeover latest as potential new owners table bids to succeed Roman Abramovich

The Blues will enter a new era with Raine Group assessing a number of offers

Chelsea: What next for club as Roman Abramovich hit by sanctions

Chelsea are braced for a new era with the Roman Abramovich era set to end amid a flurry of bids to buy the European and world champions.

After sanctions against the Russian oligarch, including the freezing of his assets, the UK government are now overseeing the move which will bring a close to one of the most successful periods in world football history following his takeover of the club in 2003.

Initially handing over stewardship of the club in the wake of Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine, Abramovich stated that he would be selling the club as it was in “the best interest of the fans, employees, sponsors and partners”.

A statement from Abramovich continued: “I have instructed my team to set up a charitable foundation where all net proceeds from the sale will be donated. The foundation will be for the benefit of all victims of the war in Ukraine. This includes providing critical funds towards the urgent and immediate needs of victims, as well as supporting the long-term work of recovery.”

With five Premier League titles, two Champions Leagues and two Europa Leagues, five FA Cups, three League Cups, one Uefa Super Cup and one Club World Cup, Abramovich has delivered unprecedented success for the Londoners, transforming them into one of Europe’s biggest and most successful clubs. That platform means only a select group of the uber-rich will be able to afford the purchase of the London club, here are some contenders who could buy Chelsea:

Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss has already confirmed that he has been offered the chance to buy Chelsea.

Wyss, 86, made his fortune as the founder and president of Synthes USA, a medical device manufacturer. The company was sold to pharmaceutical giants Johnson & Johnson for $19.7 billion in 2012.

The octogenarian lives in Wyoming and is a prominent supporter and financial backer of environmental causes and progressive politics.

He told Swiss outlet Blick that he would have to join with others in a consortium to buy the club.

“I have to wait four to five days now. Abramovich is currently asking far too much,” Wyss explained. “You know, Chelsea owe him £2billion [it is £1.5billion]. But Chelsea has no money. That means: those who buy Chelsea should compensate Abramovich.

“As of today, we don’t know the exact selling price. I can well imagine starting at Chelsea with partners. But I have to examine the general conditions first. But what I can already say: I’m definitely not doing something like this alone.

“If I buy Chelsea, then with a consortium consisting of six to seven investors.”

Todd Boehly

Boehly is part-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers

A potential leader of that consortium is reportedly Todd Boehly. The American has courted Chelsea before - in 2019, he had a $3 billion (£2.24 billion) offer turned down by Abramovich as he looked to add the Premier League club to a sporting portfolio already including part-ownership of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team and Los Angeles Sparks basketball franchise.

Boehly added a stake in the LA Lakers last year and is an owner of fantasy sports behemoth DraftKings. He is the founder of private investment firm Eldridge Partners, which is involved in a broad range of industries.

“Football’s the biggest sport in the world, the passion the fans have for the sport and the teams is unparalleled,” Boehly told Bloomberg in 2019 of his interest in buying Chelsea.

“So what you are trying to build with these teams, you are really trying to a) win and b) be part of the community.

“The opportunity we had with the Dodgers was really about part-ownership with Los Angeles, how are we going to win, how are we going to drive championships and how are we going to build passion. If you look at what the Premier League offers, it’s all of those things.

“It’s the highest quality play, it’s the best players, and you also have a media market that’s just really developing.”

Property developer Nick Candy initially assembled a bid worth £2.5bn to buy Chelsea, but over the last weekend an improved offer arrived with a large Korean financial institution joining his consortium.

The elder Candy brother is attempting to form a consortium to buy the club, who he supports, with the bid aimed at including plans to redevelop Stamford Bridge.

“Nick Candy is actively exploring a number of options for a potential bid for Chelsea Football Club,” a spokesperson for Candy said in a statement to Sportsmail. “Any bid would be made in conjunction with another party (or consortium) and we have serious interest from several international partners.”

“Mr Candy has a huge affinity with Chelsea. His father was asked to play for the club and he has been watching matches at Stamford Bridge since the age of four. The club deserves a world class stadium and infrastructure and Mr Candy’s unique expertise and background in real estate would be a hugely valuable asset to delivering this vision.”

Alongside brother Christian, Candy formed property development company Candy & Candy in 1999.

The firm has since been involved in a number of high-profile developments in London, including luxury residential and retail complex One Hyde Park in Knightsbridge.

Nick Candy took over sole ownership of the siblings’ business, renamed Candy Property, in 2018 and has diversified his portfolio through investment arm Candy Ventures.

Centricus

Global investment firm Centricus is keen to take over the club and “maintain and support existing management”.

With £29bn in assets and several Chelsea season-ticket holders as part of the group, including Centricus co-founder Nizar Al-Bassam and chief executive Garth Ritchie, who will head the bid.

Hedge fund manager Jonathan Lourie of Cheyne Capital and Bob Finch of Talis Capital also make up part of the group, with a statement from the group stating it “will be committed to supporting [Chelsea] and its key stakeholders to ensure its continued success”.

It added: “Our financing for the deal includes funding for the completion of the transaction and funding for working capital required for the day-to-day operations of the CFC Group, funds required to maintain an elite global brand, investment in grassroots and in-community football initiatives such as the Chelsea Academy, the women’s team, the youth development programme and the Chelsea Foundation and strategic real estate investment.

“The intention is to maintain and support existing management on both the business and sporting operations of the CFC Group. We intend to maintain the existing strategy direction.

“Clearly, the CFC Group has been operating in challenging conditions and we appreciate the importance for the CFC Group, the fans and other key stakeholders of ensuring a smooth and stable ownership transition.”

Empowerment IP

Empowerment IP, a rights monetisation firm headed by the sports financier Stephen Duval, tabled an improved £3.1bn bid for Chelsea to Raine over the last few days.

Of that total amount, Sky claim £1b is to acquire Chelsea’s share capital, while £2.1b would be ring-fenced for investment in the club’s Stamford Bridge stadium, players and academy.

In an exciting development for Chelsea fans, who have been pushing for more involvement in the future of the club concerning key decisions, the deal is said to include a fan bond to hand supporters no less than 25 per cent of the shares.

Empowerment has close links to the UFC superstar Conor McGregor, who had previously claimed on Twitter he wanted to buy the club.

Amr Zedan

Zedan is a Los Angeles-born Saudi investor, a venture capitalist and horse racing mogul, the 35-year-old is the chairman of Zedan Group, a company involved in the energy and petrochemical sectors in Saudi Arabia, along with an interest in horse racing through Zedan Racing Stables.

Goal report that Zedan sort extra finance after the deadline passed and has an outside chance of landing the club.

He has connections to Jordan's royal family through his marriage to Princess Noor Bint Asem.

Woody Johnson

Johnson also owns the New York Jets

US billionaire Woody Johnson has also been linked.

The US Ambassador to the UK until last year and an associate of former US president Donald Trump is said to be ready offer £2billion for the club.

“What Chelsea need right now is longevity and stability when it comes to a new owner. Woody and his team think they can provide that,” a source told The Sun.

“He’s run the Jets successfully and knows a huge amount about the sports industry. And he’s spent the last four years in London and knows it well.”

Johnson is also owner of NFL franchise, New York Jets.

The Ricketts family

The owners of the Chicago Cubs have also confirmed they will make a bid to buy the Premier League club. 

In a statement released by a London-based communications firm, the Ricketts family said it was leading an investment group that will make its formal bid for the reigning world and European champions on Friday. 

“As long-time operators of an iconic professional sports team, the Ricketts family and their partners understand the importance of investing for success on the pitch, while respecting the traditions of the club, the fans and the community,” the statement said.

“We look forward to sharing further details of our plans in due course.” 

Saudi Media

The biggest media company in the Middle East, the Saudi Media group, have also been linked.

Reports suggest they have lodged a £2.7billion bid to win the auction for the club.

Saudi Media’s owner Mohamed Alkhereiji is a Chelsea fan and is apparently leading a private consortium hoping to secure the purchase.

Saudi Arabia's PIF own Newcastle United after the much-criticised takeover last year with Saudi Media apparently receiving no backing from the state.

Stephen Pagliuca

Stephen Pagliuca has emerged as the latest suitor for Chelsea with the American owning Serie A team Atalanta, a co-owner of the Boston Celtics and co-chairing the buyout firm Bain Capital.

Pagliuca has lodged an offer for the Blues ahead of last week’s deadline, report Sky News.

The 67-year-old submitted a bid before last week’s deadline and if he misses out on the shortlist, he could team up with one of the final consortia.

Sir Martin Broughton

Sir Martin Broughton is compiling his own bid to buy Chelseas.

The former British Airways chairman and lifelong Chelsea fan was due to meet with Chelsea supporters groups representatives after the Blues’ first match under the new government operating licence last week.

Broughton spent a short stint as Liverpool chairman in 2010 in order to broker the Reds’ eventual sale to Tom Werner’s Fenway Sports Group.

The business magnate won a court battle to push on Liverpool’s sale to FSG, who have helped drive the Anfield club back to Premier League and European summit.

Broughton remains the only person to have carried out a change of ownership at a top football club under UK government supervision.

Lord Sebastian Coe has thrown his weight behind Broughton’s attempt to take control of the Blues.

“I am certain that Sir Martin is the right man to lead Chelsea Football Club into its next chapter,” Coe said in a statement confirming he was also part of the consortium.

John Terry

Chelsea legend John Terry is said to be leading a £250m consortium called ‘True Blue’ looking to buy a 10 per cent stake in club.

According to goal.com John Terry and former Chelsea Women’s star Claire Rafferty are heading up the consortium, where Blues supporters would be able to reportedly buy fan tokens for more than £100 in return for voting rights

The ex-Blues captain cannot fund a full bid to try and compete for total ownership of the club, so is aiming for a 10 per cent stake and may link up with one of the US, UK or Saudi billionaires aiming to purchase the club.

Goal also claim another figure behind the consortium is Conservative party donor David Meller, who is said to have previously worked with the club in a charitable capacity but has attracted some controversy in recent years - using the ‘VIP lane’ to earn a PPE contract during the coronavirus pandemic and he was also the chairman of the President’s Club, a high-class men-only charity event, which became embroiled in a sexual harassment scandal.

Aethel Partners

Investment firm Aethel Partners are the latest group to say they have bid for Chelsea before the Friday deadline, according to BBC Sport.

Headed by Portuguese entrepreneur Ricardo Silva, the London firm have declared their intention to pay in the region of £2billion for the European champions and are pledging to put in £50m immediately. That will serve as bridging funding to help ease financial issues the club faces and to redevelop Stamford Bridge.

They also say backing manager Thomas Tuchel is key to their proposal.

Aethel are a global private equity firm with no previous experience in sports ownership but they insist they are serious about rivalling higher-profile bidders like the Ricketts family, Todd Boehly, Woody Johnson and Sir Martin Broughton.

Muhsin Bayrak

The Turkish billionaire publicly registered his interest, telling Turkish media: “We are discussing the terms of Chelsea’s purchase with Roman Abramovich’s lawyers. We’re negotiating signatures. We will soon fly the Turkish flag in London.”

Bayrak is the chairman of construction company AB Grup and reportedly took a flight to London for talks with his lawyer earlier this month.

Loutfy Mansour

Loutfy Mansour, 39, is the Egyptian chief executive of Man Capital, which operates as the investment arm to his family’s conglomerate, which has revenues in the region of $6b (£4.4b).

Mansour, who is a season ticket holder at Stamford Bridge and has the McDonald’s Egyptian franchise as part of his portfolio, was initially rumoured to be interested in buying the club.

But a spokesperson told The i that he would not pursue a bid: “In light of the recent media speculation, we want to make it clear that we are not pursuing a bid for Chelsea Football Club at this time.”

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