March 24, 2022
(Removes extraneous word in first paragraph)
By Peter Hall
MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) – A consortium comprising investors Todd Boehly, Hansjorg Wyss and Jonathan Goldstein has been shortlisted in the auction for English Premier League club Chelsea, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.
Chelsea was put up for sale by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, stating proceeds would go to charity. He was sanctioned by Britain this month, so the winning bidder for Chelsea would need to be greenlighted by the government.
The value of the offer made by the group led by Boehly — a former Guggenheim Partners president whose investment firm Elridge now invests in several businesses — could not be learned.
Other bidders are expecting to hear back from U.S. bank Raine Group, which is overseeing the sale, on whether they had made a narrowed shortlist, sources said. Bid revisions have slowed the process.
The Financial Times reported on Thursday that the consortium led by private equity veterans Josh Harris and David Blitzer, who own sport teams including the National Basketball Association’s Philadelphia 76ers, also made the shortlist. They would have to divest their 40% stake in Crystal Palace, another English football team, were their bid for Chelsea to succeed.
Saudi Media have not made the shortlist, an advisor to the group told Reuters, while Sky News reported that other bidders including Woody Johnson, owner of the New York Jets, had also been eliminated.
Hedge fund Elliott Management, which owns AC Milan, has joined the Nick Candy-led Blue Football consortium as a “minor investor” in their bid for Chelsea, sources close to the bid said.
Elliott has injected a “multi-million pound sum” into the bid, the sources told Reuters.
British property developer Candy’s bid was increased on Monday after being joined by “another large Korean financial institution”, the parties said in a statement, with sources adding the consortium grew further on Thursday.
Elliott bought AC Milan in 2018 and has since helped the Italian giants become much more competitive in Serie A. The team is topping the standings, chasing their first league title in 11 years.
Candy had initially been joined in his consortium by South Korean companies Hana Financial Group and C&P Sports Limited before the new investors got on board.
SAUDI MEDIA MISS OUT
An advisor to Saudi Media Group told Reuters their bid for Chelsea had been rejected and they had been informed by Raine that they were not on the shortlist.
They added that the bid, which was headed by businessman Mohamed Alkhereiji, who is reported to be a season ticket holder at Chelsea, would be open to linking up with another consortium that does make the shortlist.
Sources close to the process said Chelsea do not want to deal with Saudi money due to potential complications and controversy which could add an extra hurdle to a fast-track sale.
Others who have made their offers public include Chicago Cubs owners the Ricketts family as well as the pairing of former Liverpool chairman Martin Broughton and World Athletics President Sebastian Coe.
London-based global investment firm Centricus also said they had offered to buy Chelsea, a move driven by co-founder Nizar Al-Bassam and CEO Garth Ritchie, who are reported to be season-ticket holders.
(The story refiles to remove extraneous word in first paragraph.)
(Reporting by Peter Hall, additional reporting by Krystal Hu and Greg Roumeliotis, editing by Pritha Sarkar and Toby Davis)