Chicago Cubs owners and Ken Griffin join forces to bid to buy Chelsea

After partnering with billionaire hedge fund mogul Ken Griffin, the Ricketts family, owners of the Chicago Cubs, are preparing to make an offer for Chelsea.

The Raine Group, the US bank conducting the process, has until Friday to receive purchase bids from interested parties, and the battle to buy the club from Roman Abramovich is heating up. The Ricketts family went public with their interest, putting them in direct competition with a consortium formed by Todd Boehly, Jonathan Goldstein, and Hansjörg Wyss.

Chelsea, who require a swift sale, have a plethora of bidders, with others showing interest on Wednesday night. Former British Airways chairman Sir Martin Broughton is proposing to offer and has teamed up with Seb Coe.

Boehly, Goldstein, and Wyss are waiting after offering between £2 billion and £2.5 billion, the Saudi Media Group is anticipated to make an offer, and Woody Johnson, the owner of the New York Jets, has expressed great interest. Nick Candy, a British property billionaire who launched a scathing attack on Boehly’s firm on Wednesday, is racing against time to complete his takeover ambitions.

Candy, who is keen about making an offer, is in danger of losing out to other bidders. The Ricketts family has had a long-standing interest in Chelsea, having attempted to purchase the club in 2018, and they are optimistic that they will be successful this time. They believe that collaborating with Griffin, the founder and CEO of Citadel Asset Management, will help them succeed. Griffin, 53, is worth $26.5 billion (£20.2 billion) according to Forbes and is a private businessman.

The Ricketts think that their success with the Cubs demonstrates that they are qualified contenders. The baseball club won the World Series in 2016, and the family oversaw a massive reconstruction of the team’s iconic Wrigley Field, indicating that the prospect of potentially restoring Stamford Bridge would not intimidate them.

“The Ricketts Family, owners of the Chicago Cubs, can announce they will be leading an investment group that will make a formal bid for Chelsea Football Club on Friday,” a family spokeswoman stated (March 18).

“As long-time owners and operators of a renowned professional sports organisation, the Ricketts Family and its partners recognise the value of investing for success on the field while honouring the club’s traditions, fans, and community.” We anticipate disclosing more information about our plans in the near future.”

After it was revealed that Joe Ricketts, the family’s patriarch, was accused of Islamophobia three years ago, several Chelsea supporters voiced opposition to the proposal. “Muslims are inevitably my (our) opponent owing to their profound animosity and bigotry against non-Muslims,” the billionaire stated in an email conversation in 2019.

On Wednesday, the comments provoked a reaction against the family, with Chelsea fans pointing out that Thomas Tuchel’s roster includes numerous Muslim players on social media. Joe Ricketts, who apologised for his statements at the time and said he did not hold prejudiced beliefs, is reported to be out of the running. In 2019, Tom Ricketts, the face of the Chelsea bid, distanced himself from the statements, claiming that his father was unconnected to the Cubs.

Another difficulty for the family might be the formation of a special purpose purchase business by Tom Ricketts, Cubs officials, and Raine in 2020. A person close to another potential Chelsea buyer questioned whether Raine’s friendship with him may represent a conflict of interest. That is not the case, according to the Ricketts consortium.

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the UK government slapped sanctions on Abramovich, which Chelsea will be anxious to avoid. The European champions are operating under a limited licence and are in danger of going bankrupt unless they are purchased shortly.

Candy is not ready to join forces with Boehly, Wyss, or Goldstein, who is a Tottenham supporter. “There are no conversations underway with Nick Candy and the Todd Boehly and Jonathan Goldstein consortium, not least because Mr Candy does not want a lifelong Spurs supporter as part of Chelsea Football Club’s future ownership,” a Candy representative stated.

Candy, a Chelsea supporter, still intends to run. According to sources, he has been approached by a number of investors and has the necessary cash.

Raine is optimistic that a transaction will be completed by the end of the month, and interested parties have been given access to the club’s most recent financial statements and payroll bill. Raine wants to make the process as painless as possible because any agreement must be approved by the UK government. Bidders will be required to provide legal assurances that they have the cash to execute the transaction.

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