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Boehly bid believed best bid but Broughton, Pagliuca ‘not giving up hope’ — report

Coming down to the wire

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It doesn’t sound like we’ll know this week, but we might have news very soon indeed, with The Times reporting that Raine Group has advised the three finalists in the bidding for Chelsea to prepare for an announcement on Monday. This matches recent reports, though The Athletic are going with a more safe “next week” timeline. Either way, we’re closing in on the endgame here, at last.

As to who might emerge victorious, the odds appear to favor the Boehly-Wyss consortium, whose majority funding (and half the controlling stake) are coming from Clearlake. In fact, the Mail, who claim to have their finger right on the pulse of this situation, cite “sources close to one of the rival parties” to report that “Boehly’s bid is in front” and “is the one to beat” — though the Broughton and Pagliuca consortiums are “not giving up hope”.

I suppose we’ll see on Monday, or whenever. Hopefully the announcement will begin the process of clearing up a lot of the unknowns and confusing parts of this transaction, such as the reports in the last couple days that Roman Abramovich had asked all three bids to stump up £500m more, or some such.

The Athletic seem to have made the most sense of this development, explaining that the money isn’t actually in addition to what was already offered — at least not necessarily — but rather shifting the allocation around a bit between the foundation and the club. (Which would explain why all three groups were reportedly willing to go along with the late request.)

Abramovich apparently wants £2.5b to eventually go to the foundation that’s being set up to benefit the victims of the war in Ukraine, including the £1.5b “debt” (i.e. Chelsea play money) that he owes to himself (and that he has forgiven / is writing off / is doing whatever is allowed under sanctions). So while everyone figures out how to actually handle the £1.5b, Abramovich still wants £1b to immediately go to the foundation. Previously, this was “only” £500m, so this portion has now been doubled with the £500m additional request.

Abramovich and Chelsea are still requiring at least £1b to be earmarked for stadium development and the “playing budget”, whatever that means, which means that the final value of the winning bid will indeed be at least £3.5b, but perhaps closer to the £4b that was claimed earlier this week.

Either way, hopefully the people making this decision are indeed keeping the club’s best interest at heart first and foremost.