Potential suitors from international sport, property and finance are this weekend considering making a bid to buy Chelsea Football Club from the Russian-Israeli billionaire Roman Abramovich.
Sky News has learnt that the owner of the Chicago Cubs Major League Baseball (MLB) team, Tom Rickets is pondering over making an offer for Chelsea, and are expected to hold talks with prospective investors soon.
Sources close to Nick Candy said the property mogul and a lifelong Chelsea fan, had also expressed an interest to The Raine Group, the merchant bank overseeing the sale for Abramovich, and was exploring forming a consortium to bid for the club.
Mixed marital arts star Conor McGregor declared his interest on Twitter. McGregor has screenshotted a WhatsApp conversation where he said “Chelsea for sale £3bn. Let’s buy it.”
Sky News understands that McGregor’s management company Paradigm Sports, is working with McGregor Sports & Entertainment and Empowerment IP Capital. LA Dodgers shareholder Todd Boehly, who is working with Swiss businessman Hansjorg Wyss is among the field of interested parties.
Boehly, who has tried to buy Chelsea from Abramovich in the past, had a £2.5bn offer rejected this week. A Turkish billionaire, Muhsin Bayrak, said publicly on Friday that he was in talks with Abramovich’s lawyers to acquire the club, although this claim was rejected by people close to the process.
In a statement on Wednesday, Abramovich said he had decided to put Chelsea up for sale as “I believe this is in the best interest of the club, the fans, the employees, as well as the Club’s sponsors and partners.” He added that the net proceeds of the sale would be donated to a new foundation established to benefit the victims of the war in Ukraine.
The Chelsea owner has also written off a £1.5bn loan to the club, but is understood to be determined to secure a valuation of at least £3bn from a sale. Chelsea are the current World Club Champions and are 3rd in the Premier League table.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: ESPN