Late offer tabled

US tycoon likely to thwart Ratcliffe’s Chelsea bid

Sir Jim Ratcliffe
Offer: Sir Jim Ratcliffe

American tycoon Todd Boehly is expected to become the new owner of Chelsea Football Club, thwarting a bid by Britain’s richest man Sir Jim Ratcliffe to hijack the bid process.

Boehly’s group is almost certain to be named preferred bidder after Raine – the New York-based bank handling the sale – and the Stamford Bridge club accepted an offer understood to be worth £3.5 billion.

Ratcliffe, the 69-year-old owner of petrochemical giant Ineos, part-owner of the Grangemouth chemicals plant, is said to have infuriated the short-listed bidders by lodging a late offer thought to be in excess of £4bn.

Ineos confirmed in a statement that “Sir Jim Ratcliffe, chairman of INEOS, has made a formal bid for Chelsea FC, for £4.25bn. £2.5bn is committed to the Charitable Trust to support victims of the war, with £1.75bn committed to investment directly into the club over the next 10 years.

“This is a British bid, for a British club. We believe that a club is bigger than its owners who are temporary custodians of a great tradition. With responsibility to the fans and the community. That is why we are committing to spending £1.75bn over 10 years that will be for the direct benefit of the club.”

However, it is now said to be a formality that Boehly will succeed Roman Abramovich who was forced to sell the club after being sanctioned by the UK government following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and his association with Vladimir Putin.

Another US businessman Steve Pagliuca heard earlier that his group was out of the race to buy the west London club, while the consortium led by British tycoon Sir Martin Broughton also indicated that they were unsuccessful.

Ratcliffe had made a number of pledges. The Ineos statement added that he would invest in Stamford Bridge “to make it a world-class stadium, befitting of Chelsea FC. This will be organic and on-going so that we will not move away from the home of Chelsea and risk losing the support of loyal fans.

“We will continue to invest in the team to ensure we have a first class squad of the world’s greatest players, coaches and support staff, in the men’s and women’s games.

“And we hope to continue to invest in the academy to provide opportunity for talented youngsters to develop into first class players.”

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