Ineos boss offers just over 5 billion euros to Chelsea

KShortly before the end of the last bidding round, Jim Ratcliffe, founder of the chemistry group Ineos, made a surprisingly high bid for the football club Chelsea FC to keep the club in “British hands”. Ratcliffe wants to pay a total of 4.25 billion pounds (just over 5 billion euros). Of this, £ 2.5 billion will go to a charitable fund supporting victims of the war in Ukraine; and £ 1.75 billion to be invested in the development of the football club over the next ten years.

The 69-year-old self-made billionaire, who earned his fortune on trades in the petrochemical industry but has also invested in sports companies for some time, presented his late bid as a patriotic act. “This is a UK bid for a UK club,” Ratcliffe said in a statement on the bid. “We believe that a club is bigger than its owners, who are temporary guardians of a great tradition with a responsibility to the fans and the community.” He is clearly trying to win over the British public. Ultimately, the London government must decide on the sale.

Is Ratcliffe Delayed?

Russian-Israeli billionaire Roman Abramovich, who bought Chelsea in 2003, is on the sanctions list as a “pro-Putin oligarch”; his assets on the island are frozen. Therefore, he is forced to sell the Premier League club. Under pressure, he has announced that the “net proceeds” of the sale will benefit the victims of the Ukraine war. The club owes about £ 1.5 billion to an Abramovich company.

Ineos is one of the main sponsors of the Mercedes Formula 1 team and owns a third of the shares.  The rest is also every third with Mercedes and team manager Toto Wolff.

Ineos is one of the main sponsors of the Mercedes Formula 1 team and owns a third of the shares. The rest is also every third with Mercedes and team manager Toto Wolff.

Image: dpa

Before Ratcliffe became involved in last-minute bids for Chelsea, the US bidding team led by financier Todd Boehly, co-owner of the Los Angeles Dogders baseball team, was considered the favorite for the takeover. Investment bank Raine, which organizes the sale process, has already invited the Boehly consortium to exclusive talks on the takeover. Behind the Boehly bidding group are, among others, the American capital fund Clearlake Capital and the Swiss billionaire Hansjörg Wyss.

Through the holding company Eldridge Industries, which he founded and manages, Boehly holds various investments in the tech, media, finance and music worlds. Last December, Eldridge, along with Sony Music Publishing, acquired the copyright to American rock star Bruce Springsteen. Second places in the bidding race are said to include other U.S. bidders, namely private equity moguls Josh Harris and David Blitzer, and basketball club owners Stephen Paglioca (Boston Celtics) and Larry Tanenbaum.

Many investors in the Premier League

In hardly any league are foreign investors as present as in the Premier League. Manchester City, for example, is majority-owned by a sheik from Abu Dhabi, while city rival Manchester United is owned by the American Glazer family. Liverpool FC, in turn, is owned by US billionaire John Henry through the Fenway Sports Group. Just a few months ago, the sale of Newcastle United to a consortium linked to the Saudi sovereign wealth fund attracted attention.

Chelsea would not be Ratcliffe’s first sporting commitment: his sporting investment includes a five-year sponsorship deal with the Mercedes Formula 1 racing team, in which Ineos also owns a third of the shares, British cycling team Ineos Grenadiers and football clubs OGC Nice and Lausanne.

The chemical engineer, who tends to shy away from the public eye, and the son of a carpenter from Manchester, founded his own petrochemical group Ineos in 1998 after a fierce career in the oil industry. The Sunday Times listed him at the top of their 2018 Rich List with a fortune of £ 21 billion. After this high flight, however, he came back. Ratcliffe is ranked number 25 on the latest wealth list with £ 6.3 billion. His latest projects include building a new model of the iconic Land Rover Defender.

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