It’s almost deadline day for any parties interested in buying Chelsea Football Club.
Those intent on making offers for the club must submit their bids by Friday’s cut-off and there has been no shortage of interest.
Roman Abramovich’s attempt to sell the club has been stopped after he was sanctioned by the UK government because of his close ties with the Russian president Vladimir Putin, in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine.
The deadline for prospective bidders for Chelsea to submit their proposals is fast approaching
Interest in buying the reigning European champions has understandably been sky-high
The proposals should be made to New York-based merchant bank Raine Group, who are overseeing the sale, the Premier League and the UK government.
Having effectively stripped Abramovich of his control at Stamford Bridge, the government have taken charge of the sale and will play a lead role in deciding which bid is selected as the preferred option.
As Sportsmail revealed earlier this week, Blues director Marina Granovskaia is also offering guidance to interested groups.
Bidders were provided with a checklist of items to submit with their offers, including a proof of funds letter, a full list of advisers, a business plan and a timescale for completion.
Chelsea’s owner since 2003, the Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, has been forced to sell and has been heavily sanctioned by the UK government for his links to Vladimir Putin
Intriguingly, potential buyers have also been asked to provide their motivations behind the offer and a detailed report on the backgrounds of all the investors. This has arisen from growing anxieties over appropriate club ownership.
A leading sports lawyer told Sportsmail that all bids will be sealed, with the process similar to a purse bid in boxing.
The government is keen for a quick and uncomplicated sale to prevent further disruption to Chelsea’s season. Abramovich wanted £3billion for the club but the final sum is likely to come in below this.
The race is regarded as so tight and unpredictable that bookmakers are not even offering a market.
As they finalise their bids, we take a look at the runners and riders in the race to buy Chelsea.
Consortium led by Todd Boehly, Hansjorg Wyss and Jonathan Goldstein
This consortium, fronted by the American billionaire Todd Boehly, Swiss businessman Hansjorg Wyss and British property investor Jonathan Goldstein, was among the first to declare their interest in buying Chelsea and are considered among the leading contenders.
The trio are still searching for investors despite putting together a bid for Chelsea worth in the region of £2.5billion, according to the Swiss outlet Blick.
Wyss, 86, who made his fortune in manufacturing medical equipment and devices, has a net worth estimated at just under £5bn.
The Swiss-American consortium including Hansjorg Wyss (pictured) were one of the first to register their interest in buying Chelsea
He founded Synthes USA, the world’s largest maker of implants to mend bone fractures, in 1977 and sold the company to Johnson & Johnson in 2012 in a deal worth $20.2bn (£15.2bn).
Forbes describes Wyss as ‘one of the most philanthropic people in the world’ having donated enormous sums of money to his charitable foundations, universities and conservation efforts.
Though he has no history of investing in sport or owning a football club, Wyss revealed in an interview with Blick that Abramovich had offered him and a consortium of ‘six or seven others’ the chance to buy Chelsea before sanctions were imposed on him by the UK government.
He has joined forces with Boehly, a sports fanatic and former amateur wrestler, who has an estimated worth of £4.7bn.
He owns a 20 per cent stake in the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team, purchased for £1.3bn after a bidding war with Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke, and a 27 per cent stake in the Los Angeles Lakers basketball franchise alongside Mark Walter.
Todd Boehly, who has stakes in the LA Dodgers and LA Lakers, has tried to buy Chelsea before
The 49-year-old tried unsuccessfully to buy Chelsea for $3bn from Abramovich in 2019 and he has also previously made a £2.3bn offer for their rivals Tottenham in 2018.
He told Bloomberg of his love of the Premier League back in 2019: ‘One of the great things the Premier League has is that it’s on a Saturday morning in America.
‘So you have an uncongested time slot that is now fully dominated by the Premier League.
‘When I was growing up [we had] Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, but certainly I didn’t know about Man United, I didn’t know about Chelsea, I didn’t know about Tottenham.
‘Kids these days are fully aware of what’s the best and the Premier League is the best. I continue to believe there is a global opportunity for the best clubs.’
Businessman Jonathan Goldstein (pictured) then joined the consortium looking to buy Chelsea
Boehly is chairman and CEO of Eldridge Industries, a private investment firm which owns life insurance companies, real estate and digital technology platforms.
The third member of their consortium is the London-based Goldstein, who has worked alongside Boehly for the past eight years.
He is the founder and chief executive of the multi-national investment firm Cain International, which has assets worth more than £8bn and owns the Prezzo chain of restaurants.
Goldstein is a Tottenham fan and even has a signed left boot of their striker Harry Kane in his office. His firm had meetings with Spurs in 2014 over playing a role in the financing of their new stadium.
A Chelsea fan and season-ticket holder, Candy, 49, has been working on a £2.5bn bid with a further £1.5bn earmarked for a much-needed redevelopment of Stamford Bridge in the years ahead.
Abramovich had overseen plans to transform Stamford Bridge into a spectacular, state-of-the-art 60,000-capacity stadium but this was shelved after he decided not to renew his UK visa in 2018.
Candy, who is a luxury property developer along with his younger brother Christian, with an estimated joint net worth of £1.5bn, would take particular interest in the stadium redevelopment.
Potential buyer Nick Candy (centre) pictured at Chelsea’s match with Newcastle last weekend
Candy pictured with wife Holly Valance, the Australian former actress, singer and model
As a fan himself, Candy has pushed for a fan representative to join the Chelsea board if his bid is successful and spoke at the weekend of wanting the club to be in safe hands even if he didn’t own it himself.
Indeed, Candy moved quickly on Wednesday to snuff out suggestions he had reached out to Goldstein and his consortium.
A spokesperson for the Candy bid said: ‘There are no talks underway with Nick Candy and the Todd Boehly and Jonathan Goldstein consortium, not least because Mr Candy does not want a lifelong Spurs fan as part of the future ownership of Chelsea Football Club.’
Sportsmail revealed on Thursday that the Chelsea legend Gianluca Vialli is working with Candy on his bid.
The Italian’s investment company, Tifosy Capital and Advisory, has worked on a number of prominent bids for European football clubs including takeovers at Juventus, Roma and Inter Milan.
Gianluca Vialli is helping Nick Candy with his £2.5billion bid for Chelsea Football Club
Nick and Christian founded the property developer Candy & Candy, now Candy London, back in 1999. Their website describes it as ‘the world’s pre-eminent interior designer and development manager.’
Previous projects include One Hyde Park, NoHo Square and the redevelopment of the former Chelsea Barracks.
Candy is married to the actress and singer Holly Valance and they have two children together.
Saudi Media Group
The offer from the biggest media group in the Middle East is reportedly worth £2.7bn.
The group is owned by Mohamed Alkhereiji, who is a keen Chelsea fan, runs Saudi Media and is the CEO of the parent company Engineer Holding Ground, which was founded by his father Abdulelah Alkhereiji.
Reports say the Group, which turns over £770million a year, has no direct ties to the country’s government. The takeover bid will be co-funded by a consortium of various other private backers from the country.
Goal reported that Alkhereiji has previously lived in the United Kingdom , attending Cass Business School and spending three years working for Deutsche Bank.
His last visit to Stamford Bridge was for the 1-1 draw against Manchester United back in November.
The Saudi Media Group is not connected to the Saudi Public Investment Fund, chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (pictured), which has invested in Newcastle United
Alkhereiji has also invested in the Saudi clubs Al Nassr and Al Hilal, whom Chelsea beat en route to winning the FIFA Club World Cup last month.
Saudi Media invests in advertising, hospitality, sports and the banking sector.
Unlike Newcastle United, who are now owned by the Saudi Arabian state via its Public Investment Fund, Saudi Media has no ties to the state but the sensitivity over the takeover at St James’ Park could affect the bid.
The Premier League faced awkward questions after approving the takeover bid at Newcastle late last year, having been convinced the PIF was separate to the Saudi state and its questionable human rights record.
The Group have placed the redevelopment of Stamford Bridge at the heart of their proposal having previously funded a modern stadium for Al Nassr at Mrsool Park.
The Ricketts family/Ken Griffin
The new owner saga took a dramatic new twist on Wednesday when American tycoon Ken Griffin joined forces with the Ricketts Family to throw their hat into the ring.
The Ricketts Family owns the Chicago Cubs baseball franchise and now they have teamed up with billionaire hedge fund tycoon Griffin to form a consortium to buy Chelsea.
Griffin is the founder and chief executive of Citadel, an American multinational hedge fund and financial services company.
The Ricketts family are set to join forces with American tycoon Ken Griffin (pictured) to launch a ‘blockbuster’ bid to buy Chelsea
Forbes recently estimated the 53-year-old’s wealth at £20billion ($26.5bn), which makes him the reported 45th richest man in America and the wealthiest individual in the public domain interested in solving Chelsea’s crisis by buying the club from Roman Abramovich.
The Ricketts’ family fortune came from founding an online trading company called TD Ameritrade.
They then acquired TD Waterhouse for $1.7 billion, and renamed the company TD Ameritrade, and is now called The Charles Schwab Corporation.
Joe Ricketts, who has come under fire for saying ‘Muslims are my enemy’ in 2012, stepped down as their chairman in 2008 but he and his family still own just under 12 per cent of the company, while his son Todd sits on the board.
His leaked emails from 2012 resurfaced where the 80-year-old made a number of controversial comments about race – saying ‘Muslims are my enemy’, describing Islam as a ‘cult’ and laughing at racist jokes.
Since making the comments, Ricketts has apologised for his words and insisted they ‘didn’t reflect his value system’.
Chelsea fans have been left shocked after news that the Ricketts family are preparing an offer for the club, years after their father (pictured) said ‘Muslims are my enemy’ in leaked emails
Tom Ricketts, co-owner of the Cubs distanced himself from his father and his comments, writing in a statement: ‘My father is not involved with the operation of the Chicago Cubs in any way.
‘I am trusted with representing this organization and our fans with a respect for people from all backgrounds. These emails do not reflect the culture we’ve worked so hard to build at the Chicago Cubs since 2009.’
His son Peter was also elected governor of Nebraska in 2014.
The family – including Cubs chairman Tom and his three siblings Peter, Laura, and Todd – have since gone on to share ownership of the Cubs with their parents since 2009 through their family trust.
It is also reported that the Ricketts’ have shown interest in Chelsea beforehand, having made an offer to buy the club in 2018. The family have also been linked with a making a bid for AC Milan in recent years.
They have enjoyed success in the last six years in Major League Baseball, overseeing the Cubs’ World Series win in 2016, their first since 1908.
They have also completed a $1bn revamp of the team’s home stadium called Wrigley Field, which was originally built in 1914.
In addition, Forbes claim the Ricketts family owns around 25 per cent stake in TV network CSN Chicago.
Ricketts hoists the World Series trophy after the Chicago Cubs ended their 108-year wait to win it in 2016
Sir Martin Broughton
The former British Airways chairman and lifelong Chelsea supporter, 74, is compiling his own bid for the club.
Broughton was briefly Liverpool chairman in 2010 to help broker the sale of the club to Tom Werner’s Fenway Sports Group in October of that year.
He has first-hand knowledge of negotiating the sale of a Premier League club with government involvement because the state-controlled Royal Bank of Scotland was Liverpool’s biggest lender at the time.
The former head of British American Tobacco is also a managing partner at Sports Investment Partners and is chairman of the company Supponor, who specialise in in-game virtual pitchside advertising.
Sir Martin Broughton, pictured when Liverpool chairman in 2010, has put together a bid to buy Chelsea, the club he supports
Broughton will be backed by Lord Coe, another Chelsea fan. The former runner and London 2012 chief would take a seat on the Chelsea board should the takeover bid by successful.
‘I am certain that Sir Martin is the right man to lead Chelsea Football Club into its next chapter,’ Coe said in a statement.
‘He has an exceptional track record in British business, as well as unrivalled experience in shepherding Liverpool out of a very difficult situation.
Broughton is being backed by Lord Coe, the president of World Athletics and a fellow Chelsea supporter
‘He has the vision, acumen and financial backing to ensure our club’s future success, keeping Chelsea Football Club at the top of European football and challenging for trophies.
‘But most importantly, like me, he is a lifelong Chelsea supporter and Shed End season-ticket holder. I know that this bid is for the millions of Chelsea fans around the world. We love our club and will always put the fans first.’
Another late entrant into the race, Woody Johnson, co-owner of the New York Jets NFL franchise and friend to former president Donald Trump, has pulled together a £2bn bid.
The 74-year-old, who was United States ambassador to the United Kingdom during the Trump presidency, believes his London connections can swing the process in his favour.
Woody – real name Robert Wood Johnson IV – is the billionaire heir to the Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical fortune and is believed to be bidding from the family fortune of £28bn.
New York Jets owner Woody Johnson (centre) has reportedly launched a bid to buy Chelsea
He bought the Jets for £485m back in 2000 and moved them to the MetLife Stadium in 2010. When appointed US ambassador to the UK in 2017, his brother Christopher took over as the Jets’ acting owner and CEO.
Johnson has been a long-standing donor to the Republican Party and gave $1.5bn to Trump’s campaign and inaugural committee as well as making further donations to his re-election committee in 2020.
He was ambassador during Britain’s exit from the European Union and Johnson was afforded a private dinner with the Queen in March 2019.
The American businessman is a long-term ally of former US President Donald Trump (right)
Bernard Antwi Boasiako
Sportsmail revealed the bid of the Ghanaian businessman and gold mine owner Bernard Antwi Boasiako on Wednesday.
Sources close to Boasiako say he has an emotional attachment to the Stamford Bridge club because of the successful African players, notably Didier Drogba and Michael Essien, who have represented them.
Boasiako wants to ‘return stability’ to the stricken club and enhance their reputation in Africa. One pledge is to make special concessions for children aged 10 and under at the Bridge to nurture a family atmosphere.
Ghanaian businessman Bernard Antwi Boasiako is keen to bid for the ownership of Chelsea
Boasiako says he has an attachment to Chelsea because of African players like Didier Drogba
The 45-year-old businessman has made preserving all employment at the club a priority during this period of uncertainty.
It is understood the tycoon has made concrete enquiries with regards to making an offer ahead of Friday’s deadline, with his advisers now working on the viability of any bid.
The Turkish businessman Bayrak was one of the first names to emerge after he claimed to have opened negotiations with Chelsea back on March 8.
He even claimed to have a ’90 per cent chance of completing the deal.’ However, this was before sanctions were slapped on Abramovich and the UK government began supervising the sale.
Bayrak said his offer was below £2.5bn but he has gone quiet in recent days as other contenders emerged.
The Turkish businessman Muhsin Bayrak was one of the first to declare an interest in Chelsea
Bayrak is the leader of the Mutki Tribe of Bitlis, one of the largest families in Turkey, as well as Chairman of the Board of AB Group Holding, which has investments in crypto, construction, tourism and energy sectors.
The AB Group, founded by Bayrak in 1999, is based mainly in Istanbul but also operate out of Italy, Greece and Spain. The company, allegedly worth $11bn (£8bn), is also said to have investments in London.