What’s happening? Raine Group: Boehly and Broughton groups remain frontrunners. Saudi Media Out
Highlights: what we know so far
- BREAKING : Nick Candy and Woody Johnson are OUT. ( @TheAthleticUK )
- Centricus have not made the shortlist. [via @SamiMokbel81_DM]
- It is believed the Ricketts family’s offer has dropped behind those of Todd Boehly and Sir Martin Broughton even if they are part of the confirmed shortlist. [via @Matt_Law_DT]
- The final shortlist of bidders is expected to include at least one more group, along with Todd Boehly’s group and the Sir Martin Broughton consortium. [via @Matt_Law_DT]
Boehly and Broughton groups remain frontrunners
On Thursday, the search for a new owner for Chelsea went on as a Saudi Arabian group was eliminated from the race. Raine Group notified the Saudi Media Group, directed by Chelsea supporter Mohamed Alkhereiji, that it would not be on a shortlist of preferred bidders.
Roman Abramovich hired Raine, a US merchant bank, to help him sell Chelsea quickly after the club’s owner was sanctioned by the UK government following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Because of worries about showing any consortium’s independence from the Saudi state, the Saudi offer was never regarded as a top candidate, a difficulty that prompted a protracted delay in the approval of Newcastle United’s purchase by the Public Investment Fund, the country’s sovereign wealth fund. Saudi Media Group claimed to be independent of the government.
The withdrawal of the Saudis from consideration tends to indicate that the Chelsea sale is nearing completion. Two American bids remain in the lead: one led by Todd Boehly, a part-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team, and the other led by Josh Harris and David Blitzer, who own the Philadelphia 76ers basketball team but are also shareholders in Premier League side Crystal Palace, a potential complicating factor.
Sir Martin Broughton and Sebastian Coe are members of a consortium that includes Harris and Blitzer.
Because of the Ricketts family’s ties to former US President Donald Trump and Joe Ricketts’ Islamophobic sentiments, a third offer from the Chicago Cubs baseball team’s owners, the Ricketts family, is becoming divisive. The Ricketts family has said that it “strongly condemns any kind of hatred.”
Chelsea and Abramovich are anticipated to choose a preferred final choice from a shortlist of three or four bids selected by Raine Group.
Following that, the Premier League will explore the option under its owners’ and directors’ tests. If that passes, the government will be requested to provide a license allowing the club to be sold.
What happens with the money after that is unknown, although official sources claim monies will not be returned to Abramovich.