The bidding deadline for prospective new owners of Chelsea Football Club is the end of this workweek, and the company tasked with conducting the sale, Raine Group LLC reportedly expect the transaction to close quite quickly after that, with the BBC reporting that “a sale could happen by the end of the month after positive conversations with the UK government”.
Said conversations have been regarding the proceeds from the sale and the new operating Licence that Raine and their preferred bidders have to apply for. As expected, and as also intended by Roman Abramovich, the net proceeds “could go to a charitable organisation” — or at least into a frozen account, at least for now while that part gets figured out (which can take months). The government’s main concern remains, despite their significantly and negatively impactful measures on the Football Club’s operations as well, that Abramovich gets no direct financial benefit from this whole process.
The BBC add that there are “more than 20 credible parties interested” though it seems only a couple have actually made bids thus far, with Saudi Media doing so today. As per CBS’s Ben Jacobs, their bid is worth £2.7b, which is slightly more than the reported £2-2.5b from Boehly-Wyss. That said, it’s not just about the money, with plenty of questions being raised about the Saudi Media group’s supposed independence from the Saudi state.
I can confirm Saudi Media Group have made a £2.7bn ($3.5bn) offer to buy Chelsea. Mohamed Alkhereiji is a Chelsea fan and leading a private consortium. No direct government links.— Ben Jacobs (@JacobsBen) March 14, 2022
STC is State-owned and Newcastle owners PIF still have shares in it despite selling some in December. Probably just a coincidence that another telecoms provider has a link in light of the Three situation.— Ben Jacobs (@JacobsBen) March 14, 2022
Meanwhile, questions of a different kind are being asked from the bid led by Tom Ricketts, who owns the Chicago Cubs along with other members of his family.
The Cubs won the 2016 World Series, but have since stagnated, with the ownership group not nearly as willing to invest in the team as they had been at first, trading away their best and most popular talent over the past couple years. While the ownership and financial models are a bit different in American sports — i.e. franchises, closed leagues, drafts, etc. — this is certainly not something you’d want to hear as a concern about prospective owners.
Safe to say that Cubs fans are a bit ... confused ... with their owners “crying poor” while trying to buy a multi-billion dollar sports team.