The final four bidders for Chelsea Football Club have been given extra time to submit final bids for the Premier League side as the most competitive sports auction in history looks set to be extended.
The remaining syndicates were informed by the sales advisers on Thursday, Sky News learned, that they now have to submit binding takeover bids in the second half of next week.
The move, which will add a few days to the next phase of the auction, comes less than 24 hours after Chelsea lost the first leg of the Champions League quarter-finals 3-1 to Real Madrid, leaving last season’s winners on the sidelines elimination from the competition.
A source close to one bidder said he had been told the final bid deadline had been extended to later in the week to give him a full and fair opportunity to properly finalize the details of his proposals.
The source added that Raine Group, the US merchant bank handling the sale, also told them it was now considering awaiting Premier League approval for all four consortia before presenting a preferred bidder to the government.
Consideration of the four bids by English football’s top flight has already begun after the remaining syndicates sent Raine details of their key investors late last week.
The Premier League is expected to take several weeks to assess those involved in the bids – including a number of US billionaires and pillars of the British company – and their work to approve all four bidders means the process could potentially be lengthened must become .
One of the bidders, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he now expects a final recommendation to be made to ministers after the week’s original target date of April 18, with the deal now expected to close in May.
A source close to one of the bidders welcomed the extra time to complete their bid given the complexity of the process that takes place to purchase the Blues.
The bidding quartet consists of: a consortium led by Sir Martin Broughton, former Chairman of Liverpool and British Airways; another led by LA Dodgers part owner Todd Boehly; Steve Pagliuca, owner of the Boston Celtics and a big stake in Serie A team Atalanta; and the Chicago Cubs-owning Ricketts family, which has teamed up with Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert and hedge fund tycoon Ken Griffin.
The four remaining bidders held meetings with Chelsea board members, staff and Raine in London this week to end Roman Abramovich’s 19-year tenure at Stamford Bridge.
They have been told they will have to make legal pledges guaranteeing at least £1bn of investment in the club’s infrastructure if they acquire it in the coming weeks.
The sales process has been complicated by the sanctions imposed on Mr Abramovich and the insane interest in buying last season’s Champions League winners.
Earlier this week, the Ricketts family-led consortium outlined a series of commitments to Chelsea fans, including a vow never to take part in a revived European Super League project.
It is understood that other bidders have submitted details of commitments to the CST but have chosen not to disclose them to date.
The Ricketts-led bid for Chelsea has faced challenges in recent weeks due to a backlash over historic comments from a family member not involved in the bid.
On Thursday, Laura Ricketts issued a public statement promising that if the family-run group won the auction, Chelsea “would strive to be champions on and off the field”.
Sky News announced last week that the fan-run group, co-founded by former Chelsea captain John Terry, was in “positive” talks with two of the shortlisted bidders over acquiring a 10 per cent stake.
Collectively, the final bidders also control or own interests in US teams, including the Boston Celtics, the Cubs, the LA Dodgers, the Philadelphia 76ers, and the Sacramento Kings.
By the standards of traditional takeover processes, the Chelsea auction has moved at breakneck speed, with executives from other major investment banks suggesting that such a complex sale would normally have taken at least six months.
Prior to his sanctioning, Mr. Abramovich had said he intended to take out a $1.5 billion loan.
A quick sale is seen as essential if Chelsea are to stave off the uncertainty that the dissolution of one of the top flight’s most valuable player teams would trigger.
The current Fifa Club World Cup winners have been reeling from Russia’s war in Ukraine, with Mr Abramovich first proposing placing the club in the care of his foundation and then officially putting it up for sale.
Mr Abramovich had initially put a £3billion price tag on the Stamford Bridge outfit, with the net proceeds being donated to a charitable foundation set up to help victims of the war in Ukraine.
As well as government approval in the form of a special licence, Chelsea’s new owners will also need Premier League approval as part of their suitability and ownership test.
Neither the bidders contacted by Sky News nor Raine wanted to comment on the changed schedule.
Chelsea FC sale: bidders will be given extra time to submit final bids for the club | business news
Source link Chelsea FC sale: bidders will be given extra time to submit final bids for the club | business news