Nick Candy has “significantly” increased his bid to buy Chelsea, a spokesperson for the British property tycoon confirmed.
Chelsea fan Candy has secured further funding through another South Korean financial backer, allowing the 49-year-old to submit an improved offer for the Stamford Bridge club.
Chelsea’s suitors faced a nervous wait on Monday night as New York bank Raine Group drew up a shortlist of preferred bidders that could be as tight as three parties.
Amid Candy’s improved offer, MP for Chelsea and Fulham Greg Hands revealed a “useful” phone call with Tom Ricketts, head of the Chicago Cubs-owning Ricketts family’s bid to buy the Blues.
Candy added South Korean investors Hana Financial Group and C&P Sports Group to the bid he submitted to Raine Group on Friday.
But the London billionaire has now further strengthened his hand, in the hope of pushing onto Raine’s shortlist.
“Nick Candy has improved his British-led bid to buy Chelsea Football Club following the addition of another large international backer to his Blue Football Consortium,” said a spokesperson for Candy.
“Mr Candy submitted a bid of more than £2 billion to The Raine Group last Friday but has now increased this significantly after another large Korean financial institution joined his consortium over the weekend.
“Proof of the additional funds has been sent to The Raine Group.”
Roman Abramovich put Chelsea up for sale on March 2nd, amid Russia’s continued invasion of Ukraine.
The Russian-Israeli billionaire was then sanctioned by the UK government on March 10th, with Downing Street claiming to have proven the 55-year-old’s direct links to Vladimir Putin.
Abramovich’s UK assets are all frozen barring Chelsea, with the club operating under a strict government licence.
Abramovich cannot profit from Chelsea’s sale, but had already pledged to write off the club’s £1.5 billion debt.
American-backed bids from LA Dodgers part-owner Todd Boehly and Chicago Cubs owners the Ricketts family are among the frontrunners to take over at Chelsea.
Conservative MP Hands even offered the Ricketts a boost by explaining a call with the Chicago bidders on Monday night, insisting he was “happy to meet with other bidders”.
Sir Martin Broughton and Lord Sebastian Coe have another potent offering lodged, while Saudi Media Group is another of the bids understood to carry clout, and Raine is moving quickly through the process given Chelsea’s need for a fast transfer of ownership.
London-based global investment firm Centricus confirmed its bid to buy Chelsea on Monday, with a consortium comprising four Blues supporters.
Centricus co-founder Nizar Al-Bassam and chief executive Garth Ritchie launched the bid, alongside Cheyne Capital hedge fund manager Jonathan Lourie and Talis Capital’s Bob Finch.
Candy was refusing to give up on his “once-in-a-lifetime” bid to buy Chelsea however, with law firm Squire Patton Boggs firmly on board.
“The Blue Football Consortium has access to immediate capital with funds readily available for deployment from day one,” said Squire Patton Boggs partner Brian Gordon.
“The bid is sourced from credible co-venturers whose attitude towards governance is top-rated.”