Chelsea: Todd Boehly becomes preferred bidder despite Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s late offer

Todd Boehly has a stake in three Los Angeles sports teams

A consortium led by LA Dodgers owner Todd Boehly will be named the preferred bidder for Chelsea, BBC Sport has understood.

The club was for sale before owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned for his alleged ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin after the invasion of Ukraine.

Earlier on Friday, British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe made an offer of £4.25 billion.

The late bid would have confused competing bidders.

Ratcliffe, majority shareholder of the chemical group Ineos, pledged to invest £1.75 billion in the club over a 10-year period as part of his entry.

But the offer came on Friday morning, weeks after the initial bid deadline of March 18.

Chelsea and Boehly have not officially commented on his group’s position as preferred bidders.

The American investor and businessman – who has bid around £2.5bn for the club – has a reported net worth of $4.5bn (£3.6bn), according to Forbes.

He is a co-owner of the Dodgers – a US baseball franchise – and the US women’s basketball team the Los Angeles Sparks, while also owning a stake in the famed LA Lakers NBA franchise.

His consortium consists of Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss, American PR executive Barbara Charone, British businessman Jonathan Goldstein and British journalist Daniel Finkelstein.

Other consortia in the running to buy Chelsea were led by Sir Martin Broughton and Boston Celtics co-owner Stephen Pagliuca.

But Pagliuca was told Friday afternoon that his bid to buy the Blues had failed.

Chelsea is operating under a special license from the British government which expires on May 31, but on Thursday Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said the club was “borrowed time” to complete the sale.

‘A British bid for a British club’

Ratcliffe is the majority shareholder of Ineos, which founded the organization in 1998.

In May 2019, he spoke to BBC Sport, describing himself as a ‘tortured Manchester United fan’. When asked if he was interested in buying Chelsea, he replied: “Never say no.”

In recent years. the company has bought Swiss side FC Lausanne and French Ligue 1 side Nice.

He also bought the Team Sky bike franchise in 2019 but in 2020 told BBC Sport he had no plans to expand the group’s sporting interests by investing in a Premier League club.

“This is a British bid for a British club,” Ineos said in a statement.

“We will invest in Stamford Bridge to make it a world-class stadium, befitting Chelsea FC. This will be organic and ongoing so that we don’t move away from Chelsea’s home and risk losing the support of loyal fans. “

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

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

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