Sir Jim Ratcliffe makes £4.25bn Chelsea takeover bid

British billionaire businessman Sir Jim Ratcliffe has made a late bid of £4.25bn to buy Chelsea.

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich put the club up for sale before he was sanctioned for his alleged links to Russian president Vladimir Putin following the invasion of Ukraine.

The bid would see £1.75bn of the offer invested into the club over 10 years.

Ineos – the chemical group Ratcliffe founded – said: “This is a British bid, for a British club.”

In a statement, Ineos added: “We will invest in Stamford Bridge to make it a world-class stadium, befitting of Chelsea FC.

“This will be organic and ongoing 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.”

Pagliuca bid unsuccessful

Three bidders were already in the running to buy Chelsea for about £2bn.

Those consortiums are headed by Sir Martin Broughton, Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly and co-owner of the Boston Celtics Stephen Pagliuca.

But Pagliuca was informed on Friday afternoon that his bid to buy the Blues was unsuccessful.

Chelsea are operating under a special licence from the UK government which ends on 31 May, but on Thursday Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said the club were on “borrowed time” to complete the sale.

Ratcliffe’s bid was logged on Friday morning despite the fact the initial deadline for bids was 18 March.

BBC Sport was told he was not interested in bidding at the time and it is unknown if his offer has now arrived too late.

Ratcliffe is still the majority shareholder of Ineos having founded the organisation in 1998.

Speaking to BBC sports editor Dan Roan in May 2019 Ratcliffe described himself as a ‘tortured Manchester United fan’. When asked if he was interested in buying Chelsea, he answered “never say no.”

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

He also purchased the Team Sky cycling 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.

In their statement on Friday, Ineos added: “We believe that London should have a club that reflects the stature of the city. One that is held in the same regard as Real Madrid, Barcelona or Bayern Munich. We intend Chelsea to be that club.

“We are making this investment as fans of the beautiful game – not as a means to turn a profit.

“The club is rooted in its community and its fans. And it is our intention to invest in Chelsea FC for that reason.”

bbc.com