Earlier on Friday came the news that the consortium led by Chicago Cubs owners the Ricketts family and backed by American billionaires Ken Griffin and Dan Gilbert had withdrawn from the four-horse race to take over at Stamford Bridge.
“The Ricketts-Griffin-Gilbert group has decided, after careful consideration, not to submit a final bid for Chelsea FC,” an official statement read.
“In the process of finalising the proposal, it became increasingly clear that certain issues could not be addressed given the unusual dynamics around the sales process.
“We have great admiration for Chelsea and its fans and we wish the new owners well.”
Standard Sport understands the issues with the bid concern a failure to agree on terms among the consortium and are not related to their interest being met with opposition by some Chelsea fans on account of historic emails sent by patriarch Joe Ricketts in 2009, with the family confident they had largely won that battle after a series of positive meetings with fan groups.
With the Ricketts family consortium officially out of the running, the battle to buy Chelsea is now between consortiums fronted by La Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly, former Liverpool chairman Sir Martin Broughton and Boston Celtics co-owner Stephen Pagliuca.
The deadline to submit final bids to Raine Group was on Thursday and Standard Sport understands that all three offers from those parties were made without a hitch.
After largely staying silent in the process up until now, Pagliuca has unveiled his grand vision for Chelsea in recent days, partnering with chairman of Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) Larry Tanenbaum. The bid also includes the likes of former Disney CEO Bob Iger and Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin, while having the backing of the John Terry-led True Blues Consortium.
Broughton is the former chairman of Liverpool and British Airways, with his bid backed by Lord Sebastian Coe among others. Meanwhile, Boehly’s bid also involves Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss and property developer Jonathan Goldstein.