Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s bid to buy Chelsea has been “rejected out of hand” but he remains interested in buying the club.
The 69-year-old – who is the CEO of the Ineos Group Ltd and widely regarded to be Britain’s richest person – tabled a last-minute £4.25 billion bid to buy the Blues on Friday.
However, it is understood that Ratcliffe has not engaged in the process set out by the Raine Group, making it difficult for his bid to be considered.
A consortium led by American businessman Todd Boehly have been named as the preferred bidders by the Raine Group and they have until the end of this week to finalise the terms of an agreement to buy the club.
That bid is currently being scrutinised by the Premier League to see if it passes their owners and directors test.
Ineos director Tom Crotty told Bloomberg on Wednesday: “We’ve been rejected out of hand by Raine but we will keep reminding people we are still here.”
Two additional parties also remain interested in taking over the club: one led by Sir Martin Broughton, the former Liverpool and British Airways chairman, which includes the billionaire Crystal Palace shareholders Dave Blitzer and Josh Harris and another led by Stephen Pagliuca, part-owner of the NBA’s Boston Celtics and Serie A’s Atalanta.
The latter, however, were informed they are not the preferred bidder before Boehly’s consortium was favoured.
Sky Sports News’ chief reporter, Kaveh Solhekol:
“Strictly speaking Chelsea should have stopped playing and trading on March 10 when their owner was sanctioned. They have remained in business only because they have been given a special license by the government.
“The license runs out on 31 May so you could argue that the club could go out of business unless they have new owners by the end of this month.
“But it is highly unlikely that the government would effectively close down the club and despite what may be said in private they would almost certainly extend the license.
“That would still cause plenty of problems though especially as the Premier League are meeting on June 8 to constitute the new season and there would be question marks about Chelsea’s future if Roman Abramovich is still in charge.”