US billionaires are vying for Chelsea, including Jets’ Woody Johnson and Cubs’ Ricketts

New York Jets owner and former US Ambassador to the UK Woody Johnson has reportedly launched a $2.62 billion bid to buy English football club Chelsea FC as billionaire investor Ken Griffin and the Chicago Cubs owner combine their resources to make their own run on the team.

Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich recently put the team up for sale ahead of British sanctions following Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. A recent BBC documentary accused Abromovich, 55, of being “Putin’s businessman”. An expert claimed he ‘stole billions’ from Russian taxpayers.

His lawyers insist there is no reason to allege he amassed wealth through crime.

The Sun reports that Johnson, the billionaire heir to the Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical fortune, hopes to submit his bid by Friday, a deadline set by the bank handling the sale, the Raine Group.

New York Jets owner and former US Ambassador to the UK Woody Johnson has reportedly launched a $2.62 billion bid to buy English soccer club Chelsea FC

US billionaire investor Ken Griffin (pictured)

President and owner Tom Ricketts of the Chicago Cubs

US billionaire investor Ken Griffin (left) and Chicago Cubs owners the Ricketts family (right, Cubs chairman Tom) are combining resources to make their own run at Chelsea

Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich recently put the team up for sale ahead of British sanctions following Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine

Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich recently put the team up for sale ahead of British sanctions following Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine

Johnson’s offer is lower than the $3.5 billion bid announced by the Saudi Media Group, but he believes he can raise the club’s profile in America, significantly increasing the value of the team. Chelsea currently have the best American player, 23-year-old Christian Pulisic.

“What Chelsea need right now is longevity and stability when it comes to new ownership. Woody and his team believe they can provide that,’ a football source told The Sun. “He successfully led the Jets and knows the sports industry tremendously. And he has spent the last four years in London and knows it well.

The University of Arizona graduate, whose value is estimated at $6.3 billion, is said to have a good understanding of Chelsea and the Premier League, having lived in London when he was ambassador to the UK under former President Donald Trump.

Johnson bought the Jets in 2000 for $635 million. Shortly after that purchase, he faced the sudden resignation of new head coach Bill Belichick, who left to join the New England Patriots and ultimately win six Super Bowls alongside quarterback Tom Brady. .

Johnson's offer is lower than the $3.5 billion bid announced by the Saudi Media Group, but he believes he can raise the club's profile in America, significantly increasing the value of the team.  Chelsea currently have the best American player, Christian Pulisic (pictured)

Johnson’s offer is lower than the $3.5 billion bid announced by the Saudi Media Group, but he believes he can raise the club’s profile in America, significantly increasing the value of the team. Chelsea currently have the best American player, Christian Pulisic (pictured)

The Jets had won an AFC Divisional playoff in 1998, but would not reach that stage again until 2009, nearly a decade after Johnson’s ownership began. Worse, the Jets haven’t posted a winning record since 2015 and are a miserable 59-101 since their last playoff appearance in 2010.

Although the Jets’ financial worth has reached $3.2 billion due to the NFL’s extensive television contracts, that’s no consolation to fans, who have watched the team decline dramatically over the years. the last decade.

In 2017, fans urged him to sell, with banners like “Dear Woody, sell the team” displayed around MetLife Stadium.

Meanwhile, the Ricketts family, billionaire owners of the Chicago Cubs and Griffin have come together to create an investment group and will table a formal offer for the west London outfit on Friday.

A spokesperson for the consortium told Sky: “The Ricketts family, owners of the Chicago Cubs, can confirm that they will be leading an investment group which will make a formal bid for Chelsea Football Club this Friday.

“As longtime operators of an iconic professional sports team, the Ricketts family and their partners understand the importance of investing to succeed on the pitch, while respecting the traditions of the club, fans and community. .

“We look forward to sharing more details of our plans in due course.”

View of a Chelsea banner that reads

View of a Chelsea banner that reads ‘The Roman Empire’, in reference to Abramovich

Griffin is the founder and CEO of Citadel, an American multinational hedge fund and financial services company.

Forbes recently estimated the 53-year-old’s wealth at $26.5 billion, making him the 45th richest man in the United States.

The Ricketts family fortune came from founding the electronic trading platform, TD Ameritrade, which was acquired by the Charles Schwab Corporation in 2020.

Joe Ricketts stepped down as chairman in 2008, but he and his family still own about 12% of the company and his son Todd sits on the board.

The family – including Cubs president Tom and his three siblings Peter, Laura and Todd – have since shared ownership of the Cubs with their parents through their family trust.

The Major League Baseball team won the 2016 World Series under the Ricketts, ending a 108-year title drought.

Previously, the Ricketts family was interested in Italian AC Milan.

US President Donald Trump (right) gestures as he speaks with US Ambassador to the UK Woody Johnson (left) prepares to board Marine One to leave the residence of the US Ambassador Winfield House in London on July 13, 2018. Johnson, the heir to pharmaceutical fortune Johnson & Johnson, believes his English connections can help him land Chelsea

US President Donald Trump (right) gestures as he speaks with US Ambassador to the UK Woody Johnson (left) prepares to board Marine One to leave the residence of the US Ambassador Winfield House in London on July 13, 2018. Johnson, the heir to pharmaceutical fortune Johnson & Johnson, believes his English connections can help him land Chelsea

Chelsea, the European champions, currently operate under a special license and are now effectively controlled by the UK government.

Abramovich bought the club in 2003 for 140 million pounds ($183.16 million). He had funded Chelsea via £1.5 billion in loans in total through Fordstam Limited, the entity through which he owns the club.

His investment resulted in the most successful era in their history as they won five Premier League titles, five FA Cups and the Champions League twice.

Chelsea are ranked by Forbes as the seventh most valuable club in world football with $3.2 billion.

The club are third in the league table – 11 points behind leaders Manchester City – as they are set to face Lille in the Champions League round of 16 second leg later on Wednesday.

New York Jets owner Woody Johnson talks with New York Jets punter Thomas Morstead (4).  Johnson bought the Jets in 2000 for $635 million.  Shortly after that purchase, he faced the sudden resignation of new head coach Bill Belichick, who left to join the New England Patriots and ultimately win six Super Bowls alongside quarterback Tom Brady. .  The Jets had won an AFC Divisional playoff in 1998, but would not reach that stage again until 2009, nearly a decade after Johnson's ownership began.  Worse, the Jets haven't posted a winning record since 2015 and are a pitiful 59-101 since their last playoff appearance in 2010.

New York Jets owner Woody Johnson talks with New York Jets punter Thomas Morstead (4). Johnson bought the Jets in 2000 for $635 million. Shortly after that purchase, he faced the sudden resignation of new head coach Bill Belichick, who left to join the New England Patriots and ultimately win six Super Bowls alongside quarterback Tom Brady. . The Jets had won an AFC Divisional Playoff in 1998, but would not reach that stage again until 2009, nearly a decade after Johnson’s ownership began. Worse, the Jets haven’t posted a winning record since 2015 and are a pitiful 59-101 since their last playoff appearance in 2010.

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