US businessman Todd Boehly and Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss have made a joint bid to buy Chelsea; Nick Candy confirms interest; Crystal Palace minority owner Josh Harris reportedly also preparing an offer; Roman Abramovich put Chelsea up for sale last month after 19 years of ownership
Wednesday 9 March 2022 12:36, UK
A consortium led by US businessman Todd Boehly and Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss have made an offer to buy Chelsea from Roman Abramovich.
Boehly, who is a part owner of MLB side the Los Angeles Dodgers, attempted to purchase the Blues in a £2.2billion deal in 2019 and has now launched a second attempt with Wyss.
Property developer and Chelsea fan Nick Candy has also confirmed his interest in putting together a consortium to buy the club.
"Mr Candy is actively exploring a number of options for a potential bid for Chelsea," a spokesperson for Candy said. "Any bid would be made in conjunction with another party and we have serious interest from several international partners.
"Mr Candy has a huge affinity with Chelsea. 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."
US billionaire Josh Harris is also considering making a bid.
Harris owns a minority stake in Crystal Palace and also has investments in a range of other sports teams, including the Philadelphia 76ers of the NBA and the New Jersey Red Devils of the NHL.
Fellow US businessman Woody Johnson is not commenting on reports that he is considering making a bid. The billionaire is a philanthropist and heir of the Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical company.
Johnson was appointed US ambassador to the UK by Donald Trump in June 2017 but is best known in the US as the owner of the New York Jets.
He bought the NFL franchise in 2000 but they have not reached the playoffs since 2010, and have recorded just one winning season in that time.
Turkish businessman Muhsin Bayrak said on Tuesday that he has made a bid below the asking price for Chelsea but people close to the process say those claims should be treated with caution.
Chelsea were put up for sale earlier this month by Abramovich, who has owned the west London side since 2003 and helped them win 19 major trophies, saying the decision was "in the best interest of the club".
The Russian's announcement came amid his homeland's invasion of Ukraine, and the consequent threat of sanctions being placed upon Russian businesspeople by the UK government.
Abramovich said he would donate all net profits from the sale to a charitable foundation that would benefit the "victims of the war in Ukraine".
A number of other parties are also reported to be interested in bidding for Chelsea, including RedBird Capital Partners, the US private equity firm that last April paid £533m for an 11 per cent stake in Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group.
However, Premier League rules would prevent the firm from owning another club.
Thomas Ricketts, the chairman of the MLB side the Chicago Cubs, has also been mentioned. He is looking for investment opportunities outside the US and was part of a consortium that tried to buy AC Milan in 2018.
Outspoken MMA fighter - and Manchester United supporter - Conor McGregor has also claimed to be offering £1.5billion for Chelsea.
Sky News has reported that McGregor's management company Paradigm Sports have been working with McGregor Sports & Entertainment and Empowerment IP Capital on a bid.
However, the 33-year-old is not thought to be the profile of which owner Abramovich is looking to sell to.
Investment bank The Raine Group want opening bids in by Tuesday March 15.
Sky Sports News' chief reporter Kaveh Solhekol:
Just because Roman Abramovich wants to sell Chelsea it doesn't necessarily mean he is going to get his way - unless he has a quick buyer lined up.
Russian banks are sanctioned, oligarchs are sanctioned, businesses from all over the world are pulling out of Russia - it's not going to be easy to do business with Abramovich.
Investors like to buy businesses they can transform but it's difficult to see how much more you can do with Chelsea if you are going to spend £3billion to buy the club. You will need to spend something like another £1billion to redevelop Stamford Bridge (without owning the freehold) or build a new stadium and you will need to keep bankrolling the playing side if you want to carry on operating on the Abramovich business model.
People who buy football clubs want what they like to call "a project" but Chelsea are already the world and European champions. What more can you do to improve them on the pitch? And how much money are you going to make out of them? Newcastle United were bought for £300m for a variety of reasons and one of them was the investment opportunity - the new owners think they can make them as big and successful as Chelsea one day. They are hoping that in 10 years' time Newcastle could be worth £3billion.
That kind of paper return on investment is not possible if you buy Chelsea for £3billion - and don't forget financial fair play rules mean new owners will not be able to spend big like Abramovich did in the early days.
Abramovich has put £1.5billion into Chelsea over 19 years and their latest accounts show a loss of £145m for the tax year to the end of June 2021.