Billionaire’s Late Bid Upends Sale of Chelsea F.C

Apr 29, 2022

The sale of the Premier League soccer team Chelsea, triggered when the British government sanctioned its Russian owner for his ties to the Kremlin, had already been the most peculiar team sale in recent sports history. On Friday, it suddenly became the most confusing, after one of Britain’s richest men entered the fray with a bold bid that upended a process that had appeared to be nearing its end.

The offer put forward by Jim Ratcliffe, the billionaire chief executive of the chemicals giant Ineos, was worth $5.3 billion, and would represent the highest price ever paid for a sports team. Its arrival disrupted a sales process that had been weeks in the making; cast doubt on the prospect of a speedy, and clean, transfer of ownership; and inserted new drama into the future of one of the world’s richest and most successful soccer clubs.

By day’s end, in fact, it was not clear if Ratcliffe’s bid would succeed, or if it was even welcome.

According to multiple published reports on Friday citing anonymous sources, a different bid led by a part-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Todd Boehly, had been granted exclusive rights to negotiate its purchase of the team. The New York Times was unable to confirm that status, even as at least one other ownership group confirmed that it had been told it was out of the running.

Source: The New York Times
(Photo by:Neil Hall/EPA, via Shutterstock)