The consortium led by LA Dodgers part-owner Todd Boehly is in exclusive negotiations to buy Premier League club Chelsea for $3 billion, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.
Earlier on Friday, British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe announced that he had made a last minute ‘formal bid’ to buy the club for 4.25 billion pounds ($5.33 billion).
Chelsea was put up for sale by owner Roman Abramovich following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and before sanctions were imposed on the oligarch by the British government.
With Boehly, the preferred bidder for New York bank Raine who have been handling the sale of the club, the status of Ratcliffe’s bid was not clear.
A spokesperson for Ratcliffe declined to comment on the details of the bid or respond to Boehly entering exclusivity.
Boehly’s consortium includes Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss and British property investor Jonathan Goldstein.
A group led by American investor Steve Pagliuca group said they had been told by Raine that they were not the ‘preferred bidder’ so were out of contention. Raine were not immediately reachable for comment.
Pagliuca had teamed up with NBA chairman Larry Tanenbaum, who is owner of the Canadian company Maple Leaf Sports Entertainment, which owns a number of professional sports franchises in Toronto.
British billionaire Ratcliffe, chairman of chemical company INEOS, currently owns French club OGC Nice and the INEOS Grenadiers cycling team said he had made a ‘formal bid’ to buy the club for 4.25 billion pounds ($5.33 billion).
“This is a British bid, for a British club,” INEOS said in a statement.
“We believe that London should have a club that reflects the stature of the city. One that is held in the same regard as Real Madrid, Barcelona or Bayern Munich. We intend Chelsea to be that club.
Ineos said that 2.5bn pounds was committed to the Charitable Trust to support victims of the war, while 1.75bn was for “investment directly into the club over the next 10 years”.
Another of the bidding consortiums was led by former British Airways chairman Martin Broughton whose bid is backed by Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton and tennis star Serena Williams.
The Broughton bid did not immediately respond to a request for comment.