Chelsea takeover: who are the four remaining bidders?
As the race to takeover Chelsea enters the final stretch, who are the consortiums vying to succeed Abramovich?
Sir Martin Broughton
Among a field of heavyweight US bidders, ex-Liverpool chairman Sir Martin Broughton is flying the flag for Britain.
The lifelong Chelsea fan was touted as a saviour of Liverpool when he orchestrated a sale of the club to Fenway Sports Group in 2010, and in a statement last month he pledged Chelsea will “never face a crisis like this again”.
Broughton’s bid has won the backing of double Olympic gold medallist and fellow Chelsea fan Lord Coe, and he is being advised by top investment banker Michael Klein, along with financial heft from Creative Artists Agency and Evolution Media Capital.
A consortium led by Los Angeles Dodgers part-owner Todd Boehly looked in pole position in early negotiations as he claimed he had the financial backing to snap up the club, but competition has stiffened in recent weeks.
Boehly has been in London courting the club this month and is said to be ready to offer a ‘golden share’ as part of his bid, to allow supporters a final say on any changes to kit, name or badge in future.
The consortium is fully funded via a group of blockbuster financial backers including Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss, British entrepreneur Jonathan Goldstein and Californian investment giant Clearlake Capital.
Tom and Laura Ricketts
Chicago Cubs owners Tom and Laura Ricketts received a boost in their attempt to buy Chelsea this week when Cobra Beer baron Lord Karan Bilimoria threw his weight behind the consortium.
The Ricketts have tabled another all-equity bid with the backing of hedge fund tycoon Ken Griffin, worth an estimated £20bn, meaning the club won’t have any trouble finding funds.
It has proved a contentious offer, however, with Ricketts patriarch Joe sparking backlash from fans for his past comments on Muslims. Around 77 per cent of Chelsea fans polled recently said they would not back the takeover.
The billionaire chairman of buyout giant Bain Capital, Steve Pagliuca, heads up the fourth consortium looking to swoop for Chelsea.
Pagliuca has sporting ownership pedigree, having co-owned basketball club Boston Celtics for 20 years and recently taken a major share in Italian Serie A side Atalanta. He said this week he was willing to shed some of his Atalanta stake to avoid conflict of interest with the Blues.
The bid boasts big name backers including Larry Tanenbaum, who chairs the National Basketball Association (NBA), Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin, and crucially, the True Blues Consortium associated with Chelsea legend John Terry.