Four contenders given April 11 deadline to submit bids for Chelsea

By Daily Sports Nigeria on March 28, 2022

Views: 189

Bids headed by the Ricketts family, Todd Boehly and Sir Martin Broughton on the shortlist to buy Chelsea; Atalanta co-owner Stephen Pagliuca also on the list with Nick Candy still hoping to be part of the process; final offers to be tabled by April 11

The four contenders vying to buy Chelsea will submit final bids on April 11, paving the way for a prospective new owner to seek government permission to take over from Roman Abramovich by the end of next month.

Sky News has learnt the remaining contenders have been notified by Raine Group, the merchant bank handling the Blues' sale, that binding offers must be made on or around that date - which falls the day before the second leg of a Champions League quarter-final against Real Madrid.

Bidders - who include several US sports franchise-owning billionaires - will have the opportunity to improve their offers from the indicative proposals which saw them make it through to the final stages of one of the most extraordinary corporate auctions of recent times.

The quartet of contenders had been told by Raine on Saturday they must commit at least £1bn to future investment in the club if they are to succeed in the battle to end Abramovich's two-decade tenure.

The additional funding must be made available for the Blues' Stamford Bridge stadium, playing squad and other areas of development.

Raine's insistence on the pool of capital for investment is likely to go some way to reassuring supporters its new owner will continue to back it with the kind of significant financial resource they have become accustomed to under the Russian-born businessman.

All four of the remaining bidders have significant experience in sports stadium infrastructure, a key consideration given Chelsea's long-standing dilemma about the expansion of Stamford Bridge, which has a capacity barely half that of Manchester United's Old Trafford home.

Between them, the final bidders either control or own stakes in US teams including the Boston Celtics, the Chicago Cubs, the LA Dodgers, the Philadelphia 76ers and the Sacramento Kings.

Sir Martin Broughton, the former British Airways and Liverpool FC chairman, and Lord Coe, the former British Olympian turned sports administrator and businessman, are fronting a bid that has the financial firepower of Josh Harris and Dave Blitzer, two wealthy American financiers.

That consortium also includes Vivek Ranadive, an Indian-born entrepreneur, and a syndicate of other investors from around the world whose identities are expected to be confirmed in the coming days.

Another of the leading contenders is headed by Todd Boehly, the LA Dodgers part-owner, and includes Jonathan Goldstein, the London-based property developer, and Clearlake Capital, a US-based investment firm.

A third group comprises the Ricketts family, which owns the Chicago Cubs, and the Citadel hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin, with the US investment bank Lazard in talks to advise it.

Tom Ricketts, the Cubs chairman, flew to London last week to address concerns raised by fans' groups about Islamophobic remarks made by his father, Joe, a decade ago.

People close to the bid have insisted Joe Ricketts has no involvement in it, and have pointed to the family's successful ownership of the team, having won the World Series for the first time in a century and completed a $1bn (£760m) renovation of its home, Wrigley Field - one of the most historic sports arenas in the US.

The other remaining contender for Chelsea is a bid spearheaded by Stephen Pagliuca, an American private equity billionaire who owns the Boston Celtics and Atalanta in Italy's Serie A.

Sky News revealed this weekend a so-called 'blank cheque' vehicle set up by one of the world's most powerful media tycoons also tabled a proposal to merge with Chelsea this month.

City sources said Liberty Media Acquisition Corp (LMAC), a New York-listed special purpose acquisition company - or SPAC - was among the parties which was eliminated from the auction, largely because of the complexity of finalising a deal on a timetable which was truncated by Abramovich's sanctioning.

Mr Malone, who has placed huge bets on sports by engineering the takeovers of Formula One motor racing and the Atlanta Braves Major League Baseball team, is said to have lodged a credible offer for Chelsea.

Had it been successful, it would have seen Chelsea join Manchester United as a US-listed company.

Sources said Raine would assess the four bids against a set of criteria including the level of equity and debt funding; price; future investment commitments; speed and certainty of execution; and the claims each party has to being an appropriate steward of a prestigious sporting brand.

Among the bidders who were eliminated from the process this week were offers fronted by the London-based property developer and lifelong Chelsea fan Nick Candy; the former US ambassador to the UK, Woody Johnson; Centricus, an asset manager; and Saudi Media Group, whose bid is said to have been largely debt-financed.

Source Sky Sports

Posted March 28, 2022


 

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