If there is one thing we learned over the past couple decades, it’s that there is money, and then there is ... Money. Roman Abramovich may be worth £10b on a good day (so not these days), but there are wealth funds that lose that much just running for the bus. (It’s a proverbial bus; they don’t take buses.) And it doesn’t even have to be sovereign wealth funds like it’s all the rage in football these days. Take Oaktree Capital, who manage upwards of $150b worth of pension funds, other wealth funds, and all manner of client moneys and investments. (And they’re hardly the biggest.)
Co-founder and co-chairman of Oaktree, Howard Marks (seen above), is one of the more respected people in this industry (if you’re into that sort of thing), and while he’s made a lot of his and his company’s money through distressed funds and properties, that’s not all they invest in, and he’s a big advocate of managing risk through steady and strategic portfolio moves.
Not sure how any of that might translate to football club ownership, though Oaktree did make their first real foray into that sphere a couple years ago, by acquiring French Ligue 2 midtable club SM Caen (N’Golo Kanté’s former team!), who were facing financial difficulties at the time.
In any case, as per the Financial Times, Oaktree are “preparing an offer” for the club ahead of Friday’s deadline, and they’re going at alone, at least for now (they certainly can afford to!), though a consortium hasn’t been ruled out.
Other confirmed bidders include the Boehly-Wyss consortium, the group led by Saudi Media, and the Ricketts Family. There others lurking in the wings potentially getting their act together as well, but we’ll see who all ends up doing something. Raine Group are expected to make a decision on their preferred buyer soon after the deadline passes, with governmental approval not expected to lag too far behind either — possibly all set by the end of the month, but we’ll see.