Binance chief executive drops plans to snap up Chelsea FC
Binance has reportedly ruled out a takeover of football club Chelsea after discussing the proposition last week.
Binance’s chief executive, Changpeng ‘CZ’ Zhao, has been in discussions with Raine Group, the US investment bank overseeing the sale of Chelsea, Reuters has learned. CZ ultimately decided against pursuing the deal as owning a football club is not aligned with the crypto exchange’s priorities, an insider told Reuters.
Rumours that Binance was mulling the takeover come after Chelsea owner Abramovich put the club up for sale last week. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine prompted the US and European governments to sanction individuals with ties to President Putin. While the Russian billionaire denies having ties to Putin the UK government refused to rule out sanctions.
The purchase of a football club would not be Binance’s first foray into the world of football. The world’s largest crypto exchange already sponsors the Africa Cup of Nations tournament, sponsors the Argentinian national team and Italian side Lazio.
Media outlet Forbes, which is now part owned by Binance, reported that Chelsea’s value was $3.2bn (£2.4bn) in April 2021. Multiple suitors have expressed an interest in the club since the sale was announced including martial artist Conor McGregor and US billionaire Todd Boehly, who owns a stake in the LA Lakers basketball team among others.
Binance has drawn the ire of the UK’s financial regulator this year with the Financial Conduct Authority issuing a warning that the exchange was operating in Britain without permission in June 2021.
Raine has not yet responded to City A.M.’s request for confirmation and Binance declined to comment on the news.
Read more: UK financial watchdog sounds alarm over Binance deal