The sale of Chelsea took a major step towards conclusion today when a number of bidders, including Saudi Media Group and Woody Johnson, were reportedly rejected.
US bank the Raine Group, hired to sell the club by sanction-hit owner Roman Abramovich, contacted a number of unsuccessful bidders as it whittled down would-be buyers.
Saudi Media Group was among those told they had been unsuccessful, according to multiple reports.
Johnson, owner of NFL franchise New York Jets and the former US ambassador to the UK, also learned his offer had been turned down, Sky News reported.
Bids led by Todd Boehly, the US dealmaker and part-owner of baseball’s LA Dodgers, and former British Airways chairman Sir Martin Broughton are believed to remain in contention.
Sources close to Sir Martin’s consortium, which includes Lord Coe, told City A.M. they had not heard that their offer had been rejected.
Other prominent bidders for Chelsea included the Ricketts family, who own baseball’s Chicago Cubs and flew to England this week to woo Blues supporters.
British property developer Nick Candy and London based asset manager Centricus also made offers for the current European champions.
The Raine Group asked for best bids to be submitted by the end of last week and have taken their time in considering which to designate as preferred.
Once the bank and Abramovich have settled on a buyer, Chelsea must present the deal to the UK government for approval.
The club has been forced to operate under the terms of a strict licence since the government sanctioned Abramovich for his links to Russia and president Vladimir Putin this month.