Chelsea Sale: Stamford Bridge set to become most expensive sports team in history
When Chelsea FC ultimately sells in the coming weeks, it is expected to fetch the highest price ever paid for a sports franchise.
The deadline for bids passed over the weekend, after current owner Roman Abramovich put the club up for sale before the UK government imposed sanctions as a result of his alleged ties to Russia and President Vladimir Putin.
There had been concerns that doing business with the billionaire would put off potential purchasers, and that Abramovich’s £4 billion valuation would be difficult to match with the asset’s need for a rapid sale while it was frozen.
However, as many as 20 interested parties are believed to have submitted bids for the club.
According to The Athletic some suitors will even raise their offers to £3bn or even £4bn, which would make it the most expensive sports team purchase in history.
That sum would comfortably eclipse the current highest sum: the $3.35bn (£2.5bn) that was paid by Joseph Tsai to purchase the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets and their home arena in 2019.
The report adds that bids for the Chelsea sale continued to arrive over the weekend despite Friday’s deadline passing, although those are not considered to be viable options.
The Ricketts family – owners of the Chicago Cubs – and a consortium involving the LA Dodgers’ co-owner Todd Boehly are believed to be the frontrunners at this stage.
British billionaire and Chelsea fan Nick Candy has also confirmed a bid alongside a consortium.
The transaction is being handled by New York-based merchant bank Raine Group, who will attempt to narrow down the bidders to three or four by the end of this week before improved offers are encouraged with a view to completing a deal by mid-April.