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Final whistle for Chelsea bidders as bankers dump a raft of bids | business news

A number of bidders for Chelsea Football Club, including the former US Ambassador to the UK, have been excluded from the £3billion auction of last season’s Champions League winners as the search for Roman Abramovich’s successor as owner intensifies will.

Sky News has learned that a number of bidders, including American football team New York Jets owner Woody Johnson, have been informed that their bids for the London club have not been successful.

Sources close to several bidders confirmed they were told Thursday by Raine Group, the bank handling the process, that they would not be shortlisted.

The Guardian reported that one of the unsuccessful bidders was Saudi Media Group, including Muhsin Barak, a Turkish businessman who previously insisted he had a 90 per cent chance of buying Chelsea.

The rejection of Mr Johnson’s bid, if confirmed, would eliminate one of the obvious early frontrunners in acquiring the Stamford Bridge side.

Uncertainty surrounded the fate of a number of other celebrity bids Thursday afternoon, including those from Centricus, a London-based wealth manager who publicly announced its interest just four days ago, and Nick Candy, the London-based property developer who has recruited a number of celebrities financiers to strengthen its offer.

Aethel Partners, another bidder that publicly announced its bid, is also unlikely to make it to the next stage of the process.

It was unclear if Raine had officially settled on a final shortlist, but leading contenders to buy Chelsea include consortiums led by LA Dodgers part owner Todd Boehly and former Liverpool chairman Sir Martin Broughton and British Airways.

A joint bid by the Ricketts family and Ken Griffin, the hedge fund billionaire, is also a serious contender, and people close to the consortium have expressed optimism that they would overcome problems caused by historical racist comments from a member of the owning family of the Chicago Cubs were raised.

Chelsea’s auction has turned into the most hotly contested – and possibly richest – sale of a leading sports franchise in history, with hundreds of parties expressing interest in buying a stake in the club or controlling it outright.

Sky News revealed earlier on Thursday that Stephen Pagliucaa co-owner of the Boston Celtics basketball team and Italian soccer club Atalanta, had joined the ranks of those vying for ownership of the Blues.

It emerged on Wednesday that Raine had asked bidders to provide firm commitments on future spending on the club and its grounds before finalizing the shortlist of candidates to succeed Roman Abramovich as owner.

“They want guarantees on the club’s and stadium’s future capital funding and cash on the balance sheet so they can be sure they are selecting the best future owner of Chelsea,” said an insider.

At least five existing US basketball and baseball team owners are among the bidders for Chelsea, with syndicates including LA Dodgers part owner Todd Boehly and Philadelphia 76ers supporter Josh Harris among serious contenders to buy the club after the sanctioning of to buy Mr. Abramovich.

Mr Harris and colleague Dave Blitzer have joined forces with Sir Martin and fellow Chelsea fan Lord Coe to lead a consortium that includes Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadive.

The cluster of American sports billionaires surrounding Chelsea underscores the extent to which the English Premier League has become a magnet for financiers from across the Atlantic over the past 20 years.

Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United were all acquired by US-based businessmen during this period, and a significant number of other top clubs also have American backing.

A bidding frenzy among big global investors, billionaires and sports owners has raised the prospect of Mr Abramovich’s original asking price of £3billion being met.

Raine is expected to tell either three or four candidates in the coming hours that they have the option of striking a deal to buy Chelsea by the end of April.

Prior to his sanctioning, Mr. Abramovich had said he intended to take out a $1.5 billion loan.

The Premier League has disqualified Mr Abramovich as Chelsea’s director but said the move would not affect players’ ability to train or perform at the club’s games.

This week the government agreed further changes to a special license allowing Chelsea to continue operations and resume selling away tickets, with proceeds retained by the Premier League and donated to a charity for Ukrainian war victims.

Chelsea can now also receive £30m from its parent company to ease cash flow constraints caused by the current crisis.

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.

Last season’s Champions League winners were muddled by Russia’s war against Ukraine, with Mr Abramovich first proposing to place the club in the care of his foundation and then officially putting it up for sale.

Mr. Abramovich initially had pitched a £3billion price tag on the Stamford Bridge outfitwith the net proceeds being donated to a charitable foundation established to benefit the victims of the war in Ukraine.

Whoever buys the club will need government approval in the form of a special license as well as approval from the Premier League as part of their proficiency test.

Final whistle for Chelsea bidders as bankers dump a raft of bids | business news

Source link Final whistle for Chelsea bidders as bankers dump a raft of bids | business news

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