Chelsea's ownership appears to have multiple American suitors and at least a couple bids with more on the way. The first bid is a joint one from American Todd Boehly and Swiss businessman Hansjorg Wyss, according to The Guardian. Our Ben Jacobs reports that Saudi Media Group made a £2.7 billion bid. The interest from SMG was first reported by Goal.com. And now it appears that the Ricketts family, owners of the Chicago Cubs, are getting into the race. According to The Telegraph, the family will be leading an investment group and will submit a bid on Friday.
"As long-time operators of an iconic professional sports team, the Ricketts Family and their partners understand the importance of investing for success on the pitch, while respecting the traditions of the club, the fans and the community," a spokesperson for the family said, according to the report.
Current Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich announced last week his decision to sell the club amid mounting calls in the U.K. for him to face sanctions in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Dialogues with interested parties have begun since he has distanced himself from the team. Net proceeds of the club's sale will be going to victims of the war through a foundation he's pledged to set up.
Here's what to know about the American interest:
Ricketts ready to get involved
While specifics of their planned bid have not been released, the spokesperson said that they will share further details of their plans in due course. The Ricketts have owned the Cubs since 2009 and were the owners during their 2016 World Series triumph, bringing the team its first title since 1908.
Johnson preparing bid
The report says that Johnson has already been in touch with Raine Group, which is organizing a bid. Johnson was located in London when he was the United States ambassador to the United Kingdom from 2017 to 2021. The club is up for sale for around $2.24 billion.
If Johnson wins the bid to buy the club, he will be the third current majority owner of an NFL franchise and a Premier League club. The others are:
- Los Angeles Rams and Arsenal FC owner Stan Kroenke
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Manchester United owners the Glazer family
Additionally, San Francisco 49ers Enterprises, backed by Denise DeBartolo York and Jed York, own a minority stake in Leeds United, while Jackson Jaguars owner Shad Khan owns second-division club Fulham.
Johnson is not the first suitor to emerge with ties to North American sports. Swiss billionaire Hansjörg Wyss is part of a consortium that includes Todd Boehly, part owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Sparks. On Sunday, we learned that the Ricketts family, owners of Major League Baseball's Chicago Cubs franchise since 2009, had expressed interest.
The news of Johnson's interest may be welcomed by American star Christian Pulisic as the Chelsea man is a fan of the Jets.
Kings owner enters the race
A tech mogul, Ranadive is preparing a bid and "putting the final touches" on it, per Sportico. If he wins it, he would be the first person of Indian descent to own a first-division English club. He's owned the Kings since 2013 and attended both MIT and Harvard.
Ranadive is the founder of TIBCO Software.
76ers owner eyeing a bid
American billionaire Josh Harris, owner of the NBA's Philadelphia 76ers, is looking to put together a deal, according to The Financial Times. But as The Daily Mail notes, doing so would mean he would have to relinquish the stake he has in fellow Premier League club Crystal Palace. Harris invested over $50 million with Palace in 2015.
Dodgers part-owner also interested
Los Angeles Dodgers part-owner Todd Boehly is set to make a bid, according to ESPN. Boehly is an American businessman and co-founder, chairman and CEO of Eldridge Industries.The bid would be combined with the most notable interested party in buying the club -- Swiss billionaire Hansjord Wyss and at least one other person. The report says Boehly was interested in buying the club back in 2019, holding talks with Chelsea at the time. He also previously spoke with Tottenham.
The club is currently in sitting in third in the Premier League with 53 points and are also heavily favored to move on to the last eight of the UEFA Champions League (catch all the Champions League action on Paramount+).