Britain's richest man considering takeover bid for Chelsea

Aveek Chakraborty

Bengaluru, March 20: British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe is interested in buying Chelsea Football Club and has held initial talks over a potential takeover, according to reports.
Ratcliffe made his fortune with petrochemicals company Ineos and remains interested in the Blues after allegedly failing with a bid to buy them last summer. The 66-year-old is worth in excess of £21billion and recently purchased Team Sky.
According to the Times, he is now weighing up options to secure the ownership of Chelsea football club from Roman Abramovic.
Chelsea, however, are said to be not for sale at the moment but Abramovich's decision to put a redevelopment of their stadium on hold has led to questions about his growing detachment.
Over the last couple of years, Abramovic has found it difficult maintaining his work culture with the London-based side due to his visa issues which limits the amount of time he can spend in the UK. He has not been at the stadium all this season and there has been growing speculation that he could lose his ties with his beloved club due to such circumstances.
Ratcliffe, who has a knack of investing money on sports group, reportedly has been alerted by the situation and held preliminary discussion for a bid.
However, the Russian owner's demand for £2.5billion for the takeover has reportedly halted talks at the moment. Ratcliffe has reportedly baulked at that price, particularly given the mammoth extra costs that would follow with having to build a new stadium once it had been bought. However, the billionaire is still hopeful that further negotiation can be sorted out in the coming times.

Though he grew up as a Manchester United fan, Ratcliffe has been a regular at Stamford Bridge for many years. The Monaco-based billionaire invested £110m last year in Olympic sailor Sir Ben Ainslie's Ineos Team UK with the aim of competing in the 2021 America's Cup in New Zealand.
Buying the London based club, would also not be his first foray into the world of football. He owns Swiss football outfit Lausanne-Sport, who ply their trade in the top-flight in Switzerland.

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