British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe made a belated bid to buy Chelsea for 4.25 billion pounds ($5.3 billion) on Friday, as the sale process nears completion and three bids from US investors are being considered.
The team was put up for sale in March after Russian owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned by the British government for his links to Russian President Vladimir Putin following the invasion of Ukraine.
Ratcliffe, chairman of chemical industry giant INEOS, is a Chelsea fan and owner of the Nice and Lausanne teams, as well as a cycling team and the British America’s Cup sailing team.
INEOS said 2.5 billion pounds ($3.1 billion) of the offering is committed to a charity fund to help victims of the war in Ukraine. A further 1.75 billion pounds ($2.2 billion) will be invested in the club over the next 10 years.
“This is a British offer for a British team,” INEOS said. “We believe that the team is bigger than its owners, who are temporary custodians of a great tradition. With responsibility towards the fans and the community”.
The New York-based merchant bank Raine Group is overseeing the sale and the British government must approve the process under terms that allow Chelsea to remain in business once Abramovich’s assets are frozen.
Raine Group has narrowed the list of potential buyers to three offers.
One consortium includes possible investments by Josh Harris and David Blitzer, owners of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers, who would have to sell their stakes in the Premier’s Crystal Palace in order to acquire Chelsea.
Another offer includes Boston Celtics co-owner Steve Pagliuca and Larry Tanenbaum, who has stakes in Toronto with the NBA’s Raptors, NHL’s Maple Leafs and MLS’s city team. Peter Guber, minority partner of the Los Angeles Dodgers also supports this group.
Another minority partner of the Dodgers, Todd Boehly, heads another consortium seeking to acquire Chelsea.
Chelsea have won 21 trophies in the 19 years since they were acquired by Abramovich, building on a huge investment to become one of the most successful teams in Europe.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.