Saturday, November 26, 2022

Chelsea sale: Todd Boehly and Hansjorg Wyss make bid, with Josh Harris ‘considering’ offer

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A consortium led by US businessman Todd Boehly and Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss have made an offer to buy Chelsea from Roman Abramovich.

Boehly, who is a part owner of MLB side the Los Angeles Dodgers, attempted to purchase the Blues in a £2.2billion deal in 2019 and has now launched a second attempt with Wyss.

According to the Financial Times, US billionaire Josh Harris is also considering making a bid.

Harris owns a minority stake in Crystal Palace and also has investments in a range of other sports teams, including the Philadelphia 76ers of the NBA and the New Jersey Red Devils of the NHL.

Josh Harris is considering an offer for the Premier League side, according to reports

Fellow US businessman Woody Johnson is not commenting on reports that he is considering making a bid. The billionaire is a philanthropist and heir of the Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical company.

Johnson was appointed US ambassador to the UK by Donald Trump in June 2017 but is best known in the US as the owner of the New York Jets.

Turkish businessman Muhsin Bayrak said on Tuesday that he has made a bid below the asking price for Chelsea but people close to the process say those claims should be treated with caution.

Chelsea were put up for sale earlier this month by Roman Abramovich, who has owned the club since 2003 and helped them win 19 major trophies, saying the decision was “in the best interest of the club”.

The Russian’s announcement came amid his homeland’s invasion of Ukraine, and the consequent threat of sanctions being placed upon Russian businesspeople by the UK government.

Abramovich said he would donate all net profits from the sale to a charitable foundation that would benefit the “victims of the war in Ukraine”.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Chelsea’s win over Burnley in the Premier League

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Why is Roman Abramovich selling Chelsea?

Sky Sports News’ chief reporter Kaveh Solhekol:

The reason Roman Abramovich wants to sell Chelsea is because he is facing the threat of being sanctioned by the UK government. If that was to happen, potentially all his assets in the UK could be frozen and he would lose control of the club. He’s already trying to sell £200m worth of property in central London, and his most valuable UK asset is Chelsea, so it makes sense he would try to sell the club as quickly as possible.

We had the situation where the leader of the opposition, Sir Keir Starmer, stood up in the House of Commons and directly asked Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, why Abramovich had not already been sanctioned. Johnson said he could not comment on individual cases. So obviously while this threat of sanctions is hanging over him, it makes sense for Abramovich to try to sell Chelsea as quickly as possible.

At the moment, in the current climate, it would be difficult to sell Chelsea quickly. If you were trying to buy a flat in London or anywhere in the UK, for instance, right now you would be asked some very serious questions – where is the money coming from and where is it going to?

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Thomas Tuchel says it’s not the time for other messages after some Chelsea fans sang Roman Abramovich’s name during the pre-match applause for Ukraine

A lot of Russian banks have been sanctioned, so it’s very difficult to do business with Russian oligarchs or any Russian banks whatsoever. I don’t think it is going to be simple.

Speaking at the Financial Times’ business of football summit, Richard Masters, the Premier League chief executive, said: “I think the situation has escalated incredibly quickly over the last seven days and he’s [Abramovich] come to the right conclusion. It’s unsustainable in the current environment.

“So it’s a welcome decision and obviously, for the sake of everybody – including the fans – as soon as the sale process concludes, everyone has certainty.”

Masters said the quickest sale of a Premier League club was 10 days, but normally it takes a few weeks and depends on the complexity of the information involved – and in this case, it’s very, very complex.

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