Joshua Harris has become the latest U.S. businessman to make a move for Chelsea as the deadline for bids to be submitted looms large.
Sources have confirmed to CBS Sports that the co-founder of investment management firm Apollo Global Management will be among the parties to have submitted a bid for Chelsea, who are up for sale after current owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned by the British government for his links with Vladimir Putin. New York bank Raine Capital are handling the sale with the deadline for bids at 5 p.m. ET on Friday.
CBS sources have indicated that Harris and his investment partner David Blitzer have formed a partnership with Martin Broughton, former chairman of British Airways, and Sebastian Coe, a former Conservative MP, close ally of Boris Johnson and a driving force in London’s successful 2012 Olympics.
Harris, who owns the NHL‘s New Jersey Devils and is a managing partner at the Philadelphia 76ers, already has a stake in a Premier League club. Along with Blitzer, he bought an 18 percent stake in Crystal Palace in December 2015. Were his offer for Chelsea to be successful, then he would be obliged to divest himself of his part ownership of the south London club.
It was first suggested that Harris, who has a fortune of $5.8 billion according to Forbes, would consider selling his Palace stake in 2019. Another U.S. billionaire, John Textor, joined the ownership group at Selhurst Park last year. Harris’ involvement with Palace could be a complicating factor with all parties involved in Chelsea’s sale keen for the process to be completed as quickly as possible.
The leading contenders to secure Chelsea are said to be the group led by Los Angeles Dodgers owner Todd Boehly and Swiss businessman Hansjorg Wyss, who have also secured the backing of Conservative peer Daniel Finkelstein and celebrity PR guru Barbara Charone. Both of the latter two are Chelsea fans and would be non-executive directors if appointed.
The Ricketts family, who own the Chicago Cubs, have teamed up with Ken Griffin of Citadel in their bid with widespread American interest in securing Chelsea. New York Jets owner Woody Johnson is also reportedly keen on the Blues. The Saudi Media Group are also interested in the club.