June 6, 2023

Well, “preferred” The deadline has passed and all the bids are in. All four groups vying for the ownership of Chelsea have submitted their final offers. All four are cash-only (or equity-only), with zero initial debt loaded onto the club, and all four will have committed at least £1b for spending on the stadium. Whatever differences exist between the bids from that baseline is what will ultimately determine who wins this pseudo-auction.

The people making that decision are reportedly the powers that (used to) be at Chelsea, including Roman Abramovich himself. Raine Group, who are overseeing this entire process, will “have an influence” as well, but are not actually making the final call. We might know as early as Monday who the winners might be, according to The Guardian’s “sources close to the process” — or by the end of next week at the latest.

From that point, Raine Group will work with said winners to complete and finalize the transaction, which will likely still take several weeks. Things like Premier League approval, a new operating licence from the government, not to mention any due diligence that still needs to be done on either the buyer’s or the seller’s side take time, especially as they need to navigate around all the sanctions as well. It’ll be a fast process for such a massive, complicated, and in many ways unprecedented transaction, though I’m sure it’ll still feel slow.

(And it’s still unclear how exactly Fordstam’s £1.5b debt will be handled that Abramovich wanted to write off, or how the net proceeds will be funneled to charities, again like the outgoing owner would’ve done.)


To recap briefly, we have the Boehly bid who jumped in quickest and remain one of the frontrunners (funded by Hansjörg Wyss and mostly by Clearlake Capital), we have the Rickettses who are the other frontrunners and have persevered despite the backlash (funded mostly by Ken Griffin), we have the Broughton bid (who have the home field advantage, but have been the most secretive of the four), and we have the Pagliuca bid, who were operating very quietly until the PR salvo of the last few days.

Speaking of Pagliuca, as the bidding deadline for Chelsea passed, he was being introduced for the first time in person to Atalanta fans after acquiring a majority stake in their club as well just a couple months ago. A warm reception was tinged with fears however that Pagliuca’s already shoving them aside, which prompted him to release statement a couple days ago reconfirming his commitment to La Dea.

“We wish to reaffirm the commitment of our family and partners to Atalanta and our partnership with the Percassi family,” the statement read. We are long-term partners and we are excited to continue the success of the club.”

-Stephen Pagliuca statement; source: Football Italia

The bigger concern with Pagliuca might be the actual conflict of interest for UEFA, with both Chelsea and Atalanta competing regularly on the European stage. But hopefully they figured all that out before even getting to this point in the bidding process.



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