Chelsea takeover: Who is on the preferred bidders shortlist & what happens next?
With Roman Abramovich preparing to bring a 19-year stint as Blues owner to a close, several candidates are looking to step into his shoes
Chelsea Football Club is set to change hands in 2022 for the first time since 2003, with Roman Abramovich preparing to bring a 19-year spell as Blues owner to a close after seeing sanctions imposed on him by the UK government.
Various takeover contenders were quick to throw their respective hats into the ring once it became apparent that the sale of the Premier League heavyweights was on the cards, with best and final offers needing to be on the table by March 18.
The process of whittling that list of interested parties down to a select group of preferred bidders is now well under way, with GOAL bringing you all you need to know about those still in the running.
Who has made it through to the preferred bidder stage?
It was revealed on March 25 that consortiums involving ex-Liverpool chairman Sir Martin Broughton and Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly had been selected by Raine Group – the US bank handling the sale of Chelsea – to progress to the next stage.
Boehly has made it through as part of a group of investors that includes Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss and British entrepreneur Jonathan Goldstein.
Other bids that have made it through include one involving American private equity investor Stephen Pagliuca, co-owner of Atalanta.
The hugely unpopular Ricketts family, owners of the Chicago Cubs Major League Baseball franchise, are still in the mix after releasing a statement on Friday regarding fan concerns.
It is understood that six offers were lodged for the current holders of a prestigious Champions League crown, with GOAL learning on Thursday that the Saudi Media Group bid had been ruled out of contention.
Blues supporter Nick Candy is another who has come up short, though both him and the Saudi Media Group would be keen to become minority stakeholders under new ownership.
What happens next?
All successful bids will be looked over in far greater detail before any final decision is made, with full background checks carried out before leading candidates are referred to the Premier League for their Owners’ and Directors’ Test.
Chelsea’s board, which features Marina Granovskaia, Bruce Buck, Eugene Tenenbaum and David Barnard, will ultimately decide who takes ownership of the club once Abramovich walks away, with Raine Group merely filling an advisory role.
The UK Government will be involved – with a special licence required in order for a sale to go through – but their main objective is to ensure that no money is made by Abramovich, with the proceeds of any deal set to go into a frozen bank account or be passed on to charity.