South Korean financial holding firm, Hana Financial Group, has reportedly submitted a $2.6 billion bid to buy English Premier League club, Chelsea Football Club, as part of a consortium piloted by Nick Candy, a UK property developer, and C&P Sports, a London-based Korean sports management firm.
While local reports said last week that the consortium has become one of the many bidders interested in buying the football club from its current owner, Roman Abramovich, Hana confirmed to having submitted a letter of intent of joining the Candy-led consortium after the news came out.
The consortium, dubbed ‘The Blue Football Consortium’, is up against other confirmed bidders, such as the consortium led by Ricketts Family, owners of American baseball team Chicago Cubs, with American billionaire and Citadel founder, Kenneth Griffin.
British businessman Sir Martin Broughton, deputy chairman of International Airlines Group, is also leading a consortium of his own. Meanwhile, another consortium is being led by American billionaire Todd Boehly, co-founder and CEO of holding company, Eldridge, and part owner of LA Dodgers and LA Lakers.
As of now, other consortia are yet to reveal the size of their bids.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Western economic sanctions were imposed on Moscow, putting Abramovich, an oligarch, and Chelsea in a tight spot after the British government froze his assets and gained control of the club under a special license.
While the official deadline for the bidding was set as 18th March (GMT), a few final bids will be submitted by the end of this week. Reportedly, there are over 20 parties interested in buying the club, but experts believe that the total number of biddings will be between 10 and 15.
Abramovich is reportedly asking for at least $3.9 billion for Chelsea after having bought the club for $184 million in 2003.
Hana Financial Group would become the first South Korean firm owning a professional European football club if the Candy-led consortium succeeds in buying Chelsea.
The group is the main sponsor of South Korea’s national football team as well as of the country’s professional football league, the K League, and also owns Daejeon Hana Citizen, a K League 2 club.