Roman Abramovich will not rush his sale of the England football team Chelsea FC, an adviser on the sale process, has said although Britain is considering sanctions against the Russian billionaire.
Helsea FC have tapped Joe Ravitch, co-founder of investment bank Raine Group LLC, to find a buyer after Abramovich decided this week to put the football club he has owned for 19 years up for sale. The move follows Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has sparked an international backlash against businessmen with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing growing pressure from the political opposition and members of his own party to include Abramovich in his government’s sanctions against so-called Russian oligarchs. UK officials have said they are considering the move but need to build a solid legal basis before proceeding.
Ravitch said in an interview that his client would take the time to strike a balance between ensuring a fair price and finding the “best manager” for Chelsea and its fans.
“We’re not going to rush anything. It’s very important that Chelsea have the right owner to move the club forward,” Ravitch said, adding that he couldn’t publicly discuss details of the sale process. A spokesman for Abramovich did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Abramovich has instructed his advisors to set up a charitable trust that will receive all the net proceeds from the sale of Chelsea FC to benefit the victims of the war in Ukraine.
People familiar with the matter said Abramovich expects the west London club to fetch in excess of £3billion and that the sale process could take around a month before a buyer is identified and a deal agreed.
In a sign Abramovich won’t compromise on his valuation expectations, Chelsea FC turned down an offer of £2.5billion from an investor last week, one of the sources said, without revealing the party’s identity. Abramovich bought Chelsea FC in 2003 for a reported £140m.
Todd Boehly, the US billionaire who owns shares in the LA Dodgers baseball club and LA Lakers basketball franchise, is preparing a bid for Chelsea FC, the sources said. He is working with Swiss billionaire Hansjörg Wyss, the sources added. Further details of this offer could not be found out.
A spokesman for Boehly declined to comment. Wyss did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Chelsea want to ensure the change of ownership is not politically contentious in the UK given the conflict in Ukraine, so the buyer is unlikely to be from countries like China and Saudi Arabia, the sources added.
Ravitch, who speaks fluent Russian, has built a global client base over the years. As a US citizen, he worked with the first President of the Russian Federation, the government of Boris Yeltsin, as a lawyer for Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP in the 1990s, advising on the drafting of private property laws.
Ravitch then spent 16 years in New York, Hong Kong and London as a banker at Goldman Sachs Group Inc, where he helped found the Yankee Entertainment and Sports Network and founded the NBA China before co-founding Raine with Jeff Sine in 2009 . a former senior banker at Morgan Stanley.
At Raine, Ravitch worked on a number of deals for the Football Group, which owns English football club Manchester City, including last year’s $500 million stake sale to private equity firm Silver Lake and a $400 stake sale million dollars to China-led investor Media Capital in 2015. He also advised Joe Tsai, vice chairman of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, in gaining full control of US basketball team Brooklyn Nets in a deal that took the team on in 2019 valued at $2.35 billion.
Ravitch began collaborating with Chelsea FC in 2018 on a number of deals including a stadium investment, media rights and joint ventures in China.
Raine Group specializes in media, sports and technology deals and has advised many business moguls including Masayoshi Son, CEO of SoftBank Group Corp. Raine also has a mutual fund business and manages $4 billion in growth capital and venture capital. It has backed US sports betting firm Draftkings Inc, audio platform SoundCloud and Vice Media, where Ravitch currently sits on the board.
Abramovich’s investment in Chelsea FC in 2003 coincided with the most successful era in the team’s history, winning five Premier League titles, five FA Cups and two Champions Leagues.
The 55-year-old, who has Israeli and Portuguese citizenship, became one of Russia’s most powerful businessmen after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Forbes put his net worth at $13.3 billion.
https://www.independent.ie/sport/soccer/premier-league/chelsea-sale-will-not-be-rushed-insists-clubs-banker-after-25billion-bid-reportedly-rejected-41410511.html Chelsea’s sale will not be ‘rushed’, insists the club’s banker after the £2.5billion bid was reportedly rejected