What happens when one of the world’s most desirable sports teams unexpectedly goes up for sale? We’re finding out right now.
A slew of sports team owners and other well-heeled people are lining up bids for Chelsea FC, the Premier League club currently owned by Russian billionaire steel magnate Roman Abramovich.
Among the interested parties are:
- New York Jets owner Woody Johnson
- Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts and family
- Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé
- Los Angeles Dodgers owner Todd Boehly with Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss
- Redbird Capital Partners (which would have to unload its 11% stake in Liverpool)
- Turkish businessman Muhsin Bayrak
- MMA fighter Conor McGregor
Potential buyers of the NFL’s Denver Broncos are reportedly being used to source bidders for Chelsea, as the two teams come with comparable price tags and prestige.
All In The Timing
Merchant bank The Raine Group, which is overseeing the sale, has set a deadline for interested parties to submit formal bids of March 15. A bill to strengthen the U.K.’s sanctions against well-heeled Russians — potentially including Abramovich — is set to be approved one day earlier.
Abramovich is seeking $3.9 billion for the club. He bought Chelsea for $196.6 million in 2003. He has stated that he wants the team’s new owner to continue investing in the club and in its Stamford Bridge home — or a new stadium.