Friday, May 6, 2022

Boehly will be Chelsea’s preferred bidder despite Ratcliffe’s late offer

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Todd Boehly’s consortium is expected to be named the preferred bidder in the race to buy Chelsea FC, according to the PA news agency.

The bid from the Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner is now expected to win the battle to buy the Blues from Roman Abramovich.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s 11-hour offer for Stamford Bridge Club is believed to have complicated things, but US business tycoon Boehly remains on course for success.

A spokesman for Boehly’s consortium declined to comment on Friday night, but the chairman and chief executive officer of Eldridge Industries is said to have taken a major step towards becoming the new owner of Chelsea.

Boehly has partnered with Dodgers owner Mark Walter, British businessman Jonathan Goldstein, Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss and US investment firm Clearlake Capital in her bid for the Blues.

The consortium’s total bid is believed to have been in excess of £4bn. That includes a pledge to spend £1.5bn on developing the club and Stamford Bridge, in addition to meeting Raine’s valuation of around £2.5bn.

The latest £4.25 billion bid from Ineos owner and founder Sir Jim to buy the Blues on Friday added another late twist to the eight-week saga of Chelsea’s very public sale process.

“We made an offer this morning,” Ratcliffe said The times.

“We are the only British offer. Our motives are simply trying to start a very good club in London. We have no profit motive because we make our money in other ways.”

Ineos added in a statement: “We believe London should have a club that reflects the size of the city. One that is equated with Real Madrid, Barcelona or Bayern Munich. We intend Chelsea to be that club.

“We’re making this investment as fans of the beautiful game – not to make a profit. We do that with our core businesses. The club is rooted in its community and its fans.”

But despite a convincing bid from the British billionaire, who conducted extensive due diligence for Chelsea in 2019 before deciding not to make an offer to the club, Boehly’s bid is now expected to succeed.

The New York merchant bank Raine Group has completed the sale of the club and must now present Boehly’s consortium to the British government as the preferred bidder.

Boehly and his partners must pass the test of Premier League owners and directors before Downing Street bosses issue a new license for the sale to go through.

Abramovich put Chelsea up for sale on March 2 amid Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

The 55-year-old was then sanctioned by the UK government on March 10, with Downing Street claiming proven links between the Russian-Israeli billionaire and Vladimir Putin.

Abramovich has owned Chelsea for 19 years and has guided the club to 21 trophies in a glittering tenure.

He cannot benefit from Chelsea’s sale and the proceeds of the transaction will either be frozen or directed to a charitable fund for victims of the war in Ukraine.

Boehly, Sir Martin Broughton and Steve Pagliuca were the three bidders who were led into the final stages of the sales process up to Sir Jim’s final bid.

Former British Airways and Liverpool chairman Sir Martin’s bid was backed by Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton and tennis star Serena Williams.

A group led by American investor Pagliuca said they were informed by Raine on Friday that they were not the “preferred bidder” and were therefore out of competition.

Pagliuca had partnered with NBA chairman Larry Tanenbaum, whose Canadian company Maple Leaf Sports Entertainment owns a number of professional sports franchises in Toronto.

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