Who could buy £3bn-rated Chelsea FC after Roman Abramovich puts club up for sale?

Who could buy £3bn-rated Chelsea FC after Roman Abramovich puts club up for sale?

BY KORIR JUMA,NAIROBI,3RD MARCH,2022-Chelsea were rocked by perhaps the biggest piece of news in the club’s recent history on Wednesday when owner Roman Abramovich announced that he is looking to sell the Stamford Bridge outfit.

The man who arguably changed the landscape of English football more so than any other individual this century is looking to step away from his beloved club, forced to do so by his connections to Russian president Vladimir Putin and the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

Abramovich bought Chelsea in 2003 and, should a sale go through, will leave with the club sitting as world and European champions.

The 55-year-old Russian oligarch stated that he will not reclaim any of the £1.5bn of loans he has put into the club during his 19-year tenure, and that any of the net proceeds would be given to a charitable foundation “for the benefit of all victims of the war in Ukraine”.

Here, UPESINEWS  takes an in-depth look into the potential buyers for a club now valued at £3bn.

Roman Abramovich pictured in May 2017© Reuters


 

Hansjorg Wyss

Net worth: £3.8bn

Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss has already confirmed that he has been approached over a possible takeover at Stamford Bridge, although he stressed that Abramovich’s £3bn asking price is too high.

The Russian’s willingness to swallow £1.5bn of loans is likely to help negotiations, though, making a potential purchase much more attractive to Wyss.

At 86, Wyss is comfortably the oldest of any of the candidates thought to be in the running to buy Chelsea.

The tycoon made his money by founding Synthes USA – the world’s biggest medical device manufacturer, which he subsequently sold to Johnson & Johnson for a mammoth £14bn in 2012.

Wyss has not previous ventured into the world of sports ownership, although reports have suggested that he will team up with Todd Boehly as part of a consortium.


 

Sir Jim Ratcliffe

Jim Ratcliffe pictured in September 2021© Reuters

Net worth: £12.4bn

Whenever a top English club might be up for sale, Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s name is never far away from being among the potential buyers.

Formerly touted as ‘Britain’s richest man’, Ratcliffe has previously been linked with buying Manchester United, of whom he has been a lifelong supporter.

Despite that, he also owns a season ticket for Chelsea already, while he has existing experience in sports too as the owner of professional cycling team Ineos Grenadiers – formerly known as Team Sky – and sailing team Ineos Britannia.

On top of this, Ratcliffe already owns three football clubs – Ligue 1 side Nice, Swiss Super League outfit Lausanne Sport and Ivory Coast Ligue One club Racing Club Abidjan.

The 69-year-old made his billions as the founder of the Ineos Group – the fourth largest chemical company in the world.

However, while on paper Ratcliffe may seem an ideal candidate to buy Chelsea, a spokesperson has insisted that he is not interested in the West London club.


 

Todd Boehly

Todd Boehly pictured in October 2021© Reuters

Net worth: £4.72bn

American billionaire Todd Boehly is understood to have been interested in buying a Premier League club for a number of years, with a London-based outfit his preference.

Indeed, he reportedly saw two offers to buy Chelsea turned down by Abramovich in 2019, while Tottenham Hotspur have also been on his radar previously.

Like Ratcliffe, Boehly already has plenty of experience in the sporting realm as part-owner of the LA Lakers, LA Dodgers and LA Sparks, and he is keen to cast his net wider than Los Angeles.

Reports have suggested that he could look to be involved in a consortium alongside Wyss to buy Chelsea, with the billionaire duo potentially joining forces to complete a takeover.

The 46-year-old Boehly earned his wealth as co-founder, chairman and CEO of private investment firm Eldridge Industries.


 

No-one

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich pictured in December 2015© Reuters

While Abramovich is reluctantly being forced to sell Chelsea quickly, there is still the possibility that no sale will end up going through.

There is growing clamour for the 55-year-old to be heavily sanctioned due to his relationship with Putin as the government aim to crank up the pressure on those close to the Russian president.

Should that happen then the sale of Chelsea would essentially be out of Abramovich’s hands, although at this stage it appears unlikely that sanctions will be imposed before Abramovich can offload his assets, which reportedly include £200m of London property too.

The oligarch’s promise to donate the net proceeds of the sale to charity may also put pressure on the government to allow the sale to go through, although there has been some debate as to what “net proceeds” would mean in practice.

Another stumbling block to emerge is reportedly the capacity of Stamford Bridge, which at 41,837 is significantly lower than many of their direct Premier League rivals – an element potential buyers believe should be reflected in Abramovich’s asking price.

The seriousness and time-dependent nature of the situation means that a deal is expected to go through sooner rather than later, but the longer negotiations drag on, the worse it could prove to be for Abramovich.

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