British billionaire ‘plans Chelsea bid’

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Nick Candy
Nick Candy believes his readiness to commit to the redevelopment of Stamford Bridge will appeal to Roman Abramovich

British billionaire Nick Candy is “actively exploring a number of options for a potential bid” to buy Chelsea.

Candy, a boyhood Chelsea fan, is trying to form a consortium with a number of international investors.

Roman Abramovich put the club up for sale last week amid the ongoing crisis in Ukraine following Russia’s invasion.

Candy, 49, believes his background as a property developer could give him an advantage with any plans to rebuild Stamford Bridge.

There are now 20 credible interested parties being handled by the US-based Raine Group, with a deadline of 15 March before assessing a handful of final bidders.

“Nick Candy is actively exploring a number of options for a potential bid for Chelsea,” his spokesperson said in a statement.

“Any bid would be made in conjunction with another party, or consortium, and we have serious interest from several international partners.

“Mr Candy has a huge affinity with Chelsea. His father was asked to play for the club and he has been watching matches at Stamford Bridge since the age of four.”

Chelsea announced plans for a new 60,000-seater stadium on the Stamford Bridge site in 2015 but the project was put on hold indefinitely three years later.

“The club deserves a world-class stadium and infrastructure and Mr Candy’s unique expertise and background in real estate would be a hugely valuable asset to delivering this vision,” added the statement.

Abramovich initially said he intended to give “stewardship and care” of Chelsea to its foundation trustees, but then decided to sell the club completely with the threat of sanctions hanging over him following the invasion of Ukraine. Abramovich has denied having close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Who has announced their bid to buy Chelsea?

Only some of the interested parties or bidders have come forward so far:

Hansjorg Wyss and Todd Boehly

Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss and US businessman Todd Boehly have formed part of a consortium to try to take over Chelsea.

Wyss told Swiss newspaper Blick external-linklast week that he had been offered the chance to buy the club.

The 86-year-old, worth an estimated £3.9bn, added that Abramovich wanted “to get rid of Chelsea quickly” after the threat of sanctions was raised in Parliament.

Boehly, who is a part owner of Major League Baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers, was previously linked with a takeover of Chelsea in 2019.

Muhsin Bayrak

Turkish billionaire Muhsin Bayrak says he is one of those to have launched a bid to buy the club, adding “we will fly the Turkish flag in London soon”.

Bayrak is chairman of AB Grup Holding, which he founded in 1999, and has investments in crypto currency, construction, tourism and energy sectors.

Sources close to Bayrak told BBC Sport he is determined to buy Chelsea and his lawyer will be in London for talks on Thursday.

Others

Other parties reported to be interested include New York Jets owner Woody Johnsonexternal-link and a Saudi Arabia-based consortium.external-link

British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe, who owns Ineos and bought French club Nice in 2019, has previously shown interest, but will not seek to purchase Chelsea because he does not see it as good value.

Analysis

BBC Sport’s Alistair Magowan

“The general feeling is that those making a media play are not the most likely to emerge victorious, but Chelsea are looking for buyers who can modernise the club and take them to the next level in terms of their commercial operation and potential stadium expansion.

“The American investment firm Raine Group, which is handling the sale, aims to maximise price and transaction certainty, which could rule out those who may run into trouble with the Premier League owners’ and directors’ test.”

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