The deadline for interested parties to lodge bids to buy Chelsea passed on Friday evening, with several potential suitors in the running.
Current owner Roman Abramovich, who has been placed under economic sanctions by the UK government, put the club for sale earlier this month.
The terms of the restrictions on the Russia oligarch means that he will not be able to profit from any forthcoming deal, but it is understood that the billionaire will still have the final say on who he hands over control of the club to.
Abramovich is being helped in the process by merchant bank The Raine Group, with the Daily Mail reporting that they will now whittle down any received bids to a shortlist of four parties.
Here’s everything you need to know about the various reported runners and riders...
The Ricketts Family
The Ricketts family own MLB franchise the Chicago Cubs.
They are backed by hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin, who reportedly has a personal wealth almost three times larger than Roman Abramovich’s.
On Friday evening, the family released a statement confirming their bid for Chelsea.
It read: “The Ricketts Family, owners of the Chicago Cubs, can confirm they will be leading an investment group that will make a formal bid for Chelsea Football Club this Friday [March 18th].
“As long-time operators of an iconic professional sports team, the Ricketts Family and their partners understand the importance of investing for success on the pitch, while respecting the traditions of the club, the fans and the community.
“We look forward to sharing further details of our plans in due course.”
Sir Martin Broughton and Lord Sebastian Coe
Broughton is a Chelsea supporter who has plenty of pedigree when it comes to successful ventures.
The 74-year-old is a former chairman of British Airways, and a former chairman of Liverpool who was heavily involved when the club was taken over by Fenway Sports Group.
Broughton has teamed up with fellow Chelsea fan Lord Coe.
The four-time Olympic medallist said on Wednesday night that Broughton is the right man to lead Chelseagoing forward.
Their consortium is backed by the American financier, Michael Klein.
C&P Sports Group
Sports media organisation Catalina & Partners Group confirmed on Friday that they were planning a bid for Chelsea, with backing from South Korea.
“We are preparing our bid,” said C&P Sports Group chief executive Catalina Kim. “There has never been investment into a top tier football club made by South Korean capital before. It is time for a change.”
The organisation’s headquarters are based just a mile away from Stamford Bridge.
Investment company Aethel Partners put in a bid worth in excess of £2billion for Chelsea on Thursday.
Based in Berkeley Square, London, they are willing to provide the Blues with an immediate £50 million to help with any short-term financing issues the club may have.
The Boehly-Wyss-Goldstein-Finkelstein consortium
One of the early frontrunners for a potential deal, LA Dodgers part-owner Todd Boehly has teamed up with Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss and Jonathan Goldstein.
Times columnist and former Conservative government adviser Daniel Finkelstein has also joined the trio, who are said to be dramatically improved their offer for the club just before Friday’s 9pm deadline passed, as per The Telegraph.
Candy is a luxury property developer and life-long Chelsea supporter.
Interestingly, his bid is backed by Blues favourite Gianluca Vialli, who now has his own company, Tifosy Capital.
Speaking on Wednesday, the Italian said that he was proud and privileged to be involved in Candy’s offer, and that he’d met the 49-year-old multiple times in recent weeks.
Saudi Media Group
The Saudi bid of £2.7 billion was one of the first to be lodged, and is expected to be the biggest.
SMG are owned by Mohamed Alkhereiji, who has close ties to London, and claims to have developed a love for Chelsea while working as an analyst for Deutsche Bank in the capital.
The company are the biggest media presence in Saudi Arabia, and generate annual revenues of around £770 million, but would need significant backing from other sources to financially compete with some of the other touted bids.
Where that extra funding would come from is unclear, although it has been claimed that the group would not benefit from any Saudi state investment.
Johnson owns the New York Jets and acted as US ambassador to the UK under Donald Trump’s presidential administration.
The American businessman has reportedly launched a bid of around £2 billion, and his hopeful that his close ties to London can help his cause.
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