Chelsea takeover: Ricketts family-led consortium withdraws offer to buy Premier League club
The consortium said it had “decided, after careful consideration, not to submit a final bid for Chelsea… given the unusual dynamics around the sales process”; the Ricketts’ withdrawal leaves bids led by Todd Boehly, Sir Martin Broughton and Steve Pagliuca in the race to buy the Blues
The Ricketts family-led consortium that was one of the final four shortlisted bidders in the running to buy Chelsea has withdrawn its bid.
The Ricketts family, who own the Chicago Cubs baseball team, had partnered with US billionaires Ken Griffin and Dan Gilbert and were planning to submit a cash bid for Chelsea.
However, those plans have now ended, with members of the consortium understood to have been unable to agree on the final make up of the deal.
The Ricketts’ withdrawal leaves three remaining contenders, who all submitted final offers for Chelsea to the Raine Group, the bank handling the sale, ahead of Thursday’s deadline:
- the bid led by Sir Martin Broughton, the former Liverpool and British Airways chairman, which includes the billionaire Crystal Palace shareholders Dave Blitzer and Josh Harris
- a consortium headed by Todd Boehly, the LA Dodgers part-owner, which includes backing from Clearlake Capital, a US investment firm
- an offer fronted by Steve Pagliuca, part-owner of the NBA’s Boston Celtics and Serie A’s Atalanta, which includes support from Larry Tanenbaum, the NBA chairman, as the parties still in the running to buy Chelsea
The Sir Broughton-led consortium submitted their full and final bid to buy Chelsea before the deadline.
Investment bank The Raine Group is expected to announce the preferred bidder towards the end of next week or the following week.
Ricketts consortium: ‘Certain issues could not be addressed’
In a statement released on Friday, the Ricketts consortium said: “The Ricketts-Griffin-Gilbert Group has decided, after careful consideration, not to submit a final bid for Chelsea FC.
“In the process of finalising their proposal, it became increasingly clear that certain issues could not be addressed given the unusual dynamics around the sales process.
“We have great admiration for Chelsea and its fans, and we wish the new owners well.”
The Ricketts bid was unpopular among many Chelsea fans due to discriminatory emails sent by Joe Ricketts, the family’s patriarch, in 2009, and some had staged a demonstration at Stamford Bridge before the defeat to Brentford earlier this month. The Ricketts family has said it “rejects any form of hate in the strongest possible terms”.
Sky Sports News understands the Ricketts consortium’s withdrawal was not down to the protests but rather the structure of the deal.
Chelsea have been for sale since March 2 after Roman Abramovich, the Russian-Israeli billionaire who has owned the club since 2003, announced his intention to sell amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The 55-year-old was then sanctioned by the UK Government on March 10, with Downing Street claiming to have proven his links to Vladimir Putin, the Russian president.
Abramovich’s UK assets were frozen, including Chelsea, although they were granted a special government licence to continue operating, though under strict terms.
Abramovich cannot profit from Chelsea’s sale and has already vowed to write off the club’s £1.5billion debt.