Failed Chelsea bidders believe Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s offer WILL be taken seriously if favourite Todd Boehly’s £3.5bn deal collapses… despite Britain’s richest man seeing last-gasp £4.25bn bid rejected
- Chelsea-owner-in-waiting Todd Boehly still intends to seal a deal to buy the club
- This is despite the uncertainty created by Roman Abramovich’s apparent attempts to renege on a promise to write off a £1.6billion debt
- Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s offer last Friday infuriated the existing groups because they had complied with the process set out by Raine
- But there is a belief among the other two shortlisted consortiums that Ratcliffe’s last-gasp £4.25bn offer for Chelsea could usurp them as back-up
The two failed Chelsea bidders believe Jim Ratcliffe will become a serious player in the race to buy the club should Todd Boehly’s £3.5billion deal collapse, despite Britain’s richest man being told he isn’t under consideration.
Sources close to the process insist Blues-owner-in-waiting Boehly, through his consortium which includes investment firm Clearlake Capital, still intends to seal a deal despite the uncertainty created by Roman Abramovich’s apparent attempts to renege on a promise to write off a £1.6billion debt.
Boehly is in the middle of a five day exclusivity period during which time he is required to sign a purchase agreement, which is expected to be a formality.
But, if for any reason Boehly’s takeover does break down, there is a belief among the other two shortlisted consortiums – which are led by UK businessman Sir Martin Broughton and US tycoon Steve Pagliuca – that Ratcliffe’s last-gasp £4.25bn offer for Chelsea will be taken seriously and could usurp their own positions as back-up choices.
Ratcliffe’s offer last Friday infuriated the existing groups because they had complied with the process set out by Raine – the merchant bank instructed to handle the sale for the Blues – while Ratcliffe’s bid was made independently.
But despite being told by Raine his consortium wouldn’t be considered, there is a feeling Ratcliffe will become serious rival to Broughton and Pagliuca in the event of the current agreement with Boehly breaking down.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe had his £4.25bn bid ‘rejected out of hand’ to purchase Chelsea
But the two failed Chelsea bidders believe he will become a serious player in the race to buy the club should the £3.5billion deal involving Todd Boehly (above) collapse
In an interview with the BBC yesterday, Ratcliffe said: ‘We’ve had positive conversations with the Government. Don’t write off our offer. We were late because it’s a big decision and we are there for the long term.’
There was no indication on Wednesday that the unclarity over the £1.6billion debt owed to Abramovich from Chelsea was tempering Boehly’s intention to press ahead with the transaction.
Indeed, there was a belief from figures close to the sale yesterday that Abramovich’s apparent change of heart was merely a last-minute play to garner leverage with the Government.
Whitehall will not allow Abramovich to receive a penny from the sale of Chelsea and are exploring ways to ensure a deal for Chelsea can be completed even if the loan issue cannot be resolved swiftly.
There is a feeling Ratcliffe could yet become a serious rival to Sir Martin Broughton (left) and Steve Pagliuca (right)
There was no indication the unclarity over the £1.6billion debt owed to Roman Abramovich was holding Boehly back
One method being looked at is setting up a two step-licence: one specifically designed to ensure the sale can go through and the other which establishes where the cash goes.
Meanwhile, the futures of key Chelsea chiefs Marina Granovskaia and Bruce Buck emerged as a key factor in the Chelsea sale process, according to sources close to the three shortlisted parties.
It is understood that Boehly is willing to keep Granovskaia and Buck in their current positions as director and chairman, respectively. Boehly and Clearlake are also likely to make their own appointments to a new look board.
However, Sportsmail understands that the positions of two of Abramovich’s closest allies, in particular Buck, would have been under threat if one of the other two parties had been successful in being named preferred bidder.
While both parties were understood to be willing to keep Granovskaia and Buck at the club, it is believed that at least one of the losing groups would have looked to dilute their power upon taking over.
It is understood that Boehly is willing to keep Marina Granovskaia (right) and Bruce Buck (left) in their current positions