Roman Abramovich is looking to sell a minority stake at Chelsea, sources close to the Russian claimed on Sunday night after he reportedly turned to an American investment bank to attract big-money offers.
Associates of the billionaire 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.
The Russian has 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”.
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.
Chelsea’s transfer spending, compared with Premier League rivals, has slowed significantly, despite the £71.6 million deal for Kepa Arrizabalaga, the world’s most expensive goalkeeper. Meanwhile, ambitious plans to redevelop Stamford Bridge were halted in May