British billionaire Nick Candy has confirmed he is still pursuing a bid for Chelsea, with the sanctioning of owner Roman Abramovich expected to quicken the sale process once the confusion created by the extraordinary events has been clarified.
The 49-year-old property developer is a Chelsea fan, who is planning to attend Sunday’s Premier League home match against Newcastle and has pledged to put supporters at the centre of his plans for the club that will be jointly-funded with American investors.
A spokesperson for Candy told Sportsmail: “We are examining the details of the announcement and we are still interested in making a bid.”
“Clearly this is a time of great uncertainty for all Chelsea fans. In our view no one is the owner of a football club – you are the custodian of it for the fans and the community.”
Candy is in talks with several potential investors over a joint venture, with the fact that the sale now has to be officially approved by the government doing little to dampen interest.
The Daily Mail reports that Abramovich rejected an offer of just under £2billion from one American group earlier this week, and given the level of interest, the eventual sale price is likely to exceed that amount, although none of the money would go to the Russian or any of his charitable projects.
Candy is convinced that Chelsea can be run profitably despite the club posting losses of £145m last year, through growing the club’s brand globally and embracing innovative new markets, as well as extracting more revenue from a multi-purpose redeveloped Stamford Bridge.
This belief appears to be shared by other buyers, with a £2bn-plus bid from Todd Boehly and Hansjorg Wyss still on the table, and serious interest from Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts and the owner of the New York Jets, Woody Johnson.
The terms of the emergency licence the government granted do not permit the club to be sold, but a government spokesman confirmed they will consider an application for a new licence to allow for a sale.
American merchant bank The Raine Group are still handling the sale, although wrote to several interested parties on Thursday saying “the process has been paused as the parties consider the implications of the developments and discuss the next steps with UK authorities.”