Abramovich prepared to consider $3bn Chelsea offers – reports
Russian businessman Roman Abramovich would demand at least $3 billion for the sale of Chelsea Football Club, according to reports. Abramovich is said to be willing to consider offers after failing to secure a UK visa.
The billionaire has owned Chelsea since 2003, but was unable to obtain a UK investor visa earlier this year amid tensions between Britain and Russia over the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury.
The Sunday Times reported at the weekend that Abramovich has engaged the services of US investment bank Raine Group to broker a potential sale, although the London club has said he is not actively looking for a buyer. Chelsea have also insisted the Russian "remains committed to the club," according to reports.
Abramovich is believed to have rejected a £2 billion bid earlier this year from UK businessman Sir Jim Ratcliffe, and also declined an offer from American private equity company Silver Lake to buy a minority stake.
However, the Russian tycoon would consider selling Chelsea should an offer be made in excess of £2.5 billion ($2.95 billion), according to reports on Monday.
Abramovich, 51, bought Chelsea for £140 million in 2003, and has since plowed an estimated £900 million into the club.
His 15-year reign as owner has seen the most successful period in the club’s history, with Chelsea winning five Premier League titles, the Champions League, the Europa League, and five FA Cups.
However, the Russian's recent visa woes have thrown his continued ownership into doubt. He obtained Israeli citizenship in May, which allows him to travel to the UK, but was forced to miss Chelsea’s FA Cup final victory over Manchester United earlier that month.
The club has also put plans for a £1 billion stadium development on hold, citing “an unfavorable investment climate.”
Should Abramovich's reported asking price be met, it would make the takeover the biggest in football history, eclipsing the £790 million the Glazer family paid for Manchester United between 2003 and 2005.
It would also make Chelsea the second most valuable Premier League club behind Manchester United, who are worth £3.2 billion based on current share value.