Chelsea FC has denied claims the club is up for sale, after rumours emerged that owner Roman Abramovich is actively looking for a buyer.
It was claimed that the club’s owner Roman Abramovich, 51, has put the club up for sale with a price tag of more than £2billion following his dispute with British Government over his visa status. However his associates dismissed reports he was considering giving up his 15-year ownership of the club but indicated he may have brought in the same specialists who helped Manchester City’s Abu Dhabi ownership sell a 13 per cent stake to Chinese investors in 2015.
One source close to Abramovich said that “he has no plans to sell the club”, but is interested in attracting a new minority shareholder to release funds.
Abramovich who has an estimated fortune of £9billion, had already rejected a bid this year from Britain’s richest man, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, the boss of petrochemicals giant Ineos. The Sunday Times claimed on Sunday that Chelsea’s directors had brought in Joe Ravitch from the Raine Group after Silver Lake, an American private equity firm that owns shares in Tesla and Alibaba, made an unsuccessful approach for a minority stake.
However, Chelsea categorically denied claims the owner may listen to £2 billion offers, and said nothing had changed since reports of Sir Jim’s offer. The Raine Group is yet to comment, while a spokesman for Abramovich in Moscow told Reuters he would not talk about “market speculation”.
Raine Group, the specialist bank, might seek interest from investors in China, the United States and Middle East. It was claimed last week that Liverpool’s owner, Fenway Sports Group, rejected a £2 billion takeover from an Abu Dhabi Sheikh in January. Speculation over Abramovich’s plans for the club has rumbled on for months.
Under his ownership, the Blues have won five Premier League titles, the Champions League, the Europa League and the FA Cup five times.