Wyss and Boehly submit Chelsea bid but Abramovich not yet convinced to sell | Chelsea

Todd Boehly and Hansjörg Wyss have submitted their offer to buy Chelsea but they are yet to convince Roman Abramovich to sell the club to their consortium.

Abramovich put Chelsea up for sale last week and is considering how to proceed after receiving an opening proposal from the consortium fronted by Boehly and Wyss. The size of the offer remains unknown but is unlikely to be significantly higher than £2bn. Wyss, an 86-year-old Swiss billionaire, has gone on the record to say that Abramovich’s asking price is too high.

It has been reported that Abramovich, who has faced calls in parliament for him to be hit with sanctions since the invasion of Ukraine, is looking for as much as £4bn. It remains to be seen whether the Russian, who is keen for a sale to go through quickly, will accept a significantly lower fee.

Beyond the finances, Wyss and Boehly must convince Abramovich, who bought Chelsea in 2003, that they are the right people to take the club forward. One well-placed figure suggesting that Abramovich is unsure about selling to them.

Wyss and Boehly, who part-owns the LA Dodgers, are sitting tight as they await a response. The identities of the other figures who have formed their consortium remain unknown.

Abramovich, who vehemently denies allegations linking him to Vladimir Putin and the Russian state or that he has done anything to merit sanctions, has appointed the New York-based bank Raine to oversee the sale. Interested parties have been given until 15 March to submit bids. It is unlikely Abramovich would be permitted to sell Chelsea if the UK government imposed sanctions on him.

Quick Guide

Following the money: who is Hansjörg Wyss?



Born in Bern, Switzerland, 19 September 1935. He studied engineering, earned an MBA from Harvard, then worked in textiles in Asia and Europe. As a sideline he sold planes – with one sale introducing him to the co-founder of the Swiss medical device manufacturer Synthes. Wyss went on to found Synthes USA in 1977 and, in 2012, he sold it to Johnson & Johnson for $19.7bn (£14.8bn).

What is he worth now? A more modest $5.8bn (£4.3bn), having, in 2013, signed the Giving Pledge set up by Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, committing to give away most of his fortune. His Wyss Foundation – focused on environmentalism and progressive, anti-Trump politics – holds over $2bn in assets. In 2018 he pledged to donate $1bn (£751m) to environmental causes. 

Any controversies? His financial influence on US politics, as a non-US citizen, has drawn criticism – but he remains focused on pushing an anti-populist agenda. Asked about Brexit in 2019, Wyss told Swiss paper Neue Zürcher Zeitung how voters had been “deceived by populist statements… For the British people’s sake, I hope that there will be another vote when all the facts are on the table.” 

So why Chelsea? He hasn’t shared his vision, but the 86-year-old Wyoming resident isn’t going it alone, with the part-owner of the LA Dodgers, Todd Boehly, forming part of a consortium. Boehly, an investor, billionaire and fellow philanthropist, had a solo takeover bid for Chelsea rejected in 2019 and has previously been linked with Tottenham. He told Bloomberg at the time: “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, Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, but certainly I didn’t know about Manchester 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.” David Hills

Photograph: Georgios Kefalas/KEYSTONE

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There has been speculation that Chelsea’s next owners will come from America. Woody Johnson, the owner of the New York Jets, is reportedly readying a bid. However Muhsin Bayrak, a Turkish businessman, last week signalled his interest in buying Chelsea and on Tuesday said he would hold further talks with Abramovich’s representatives on Thursday.

The uncertainty at Chelsea could have an impact on contract negotiations with Antonio Rüdiger, Andreas Christensen and César Azpilicueta. Barcelona are close to signing Christensen on a free, although Bayern Munich have not pulled out of the race for the Denmark defender. Barça are also confident Azpilicueta will strengthen their defence on a free.

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