Ricketts Family Hires Investment Bank to Aid Chelsea Bid as Club Fans Plan Protest Against Cubs Owners

According to a report from Mark Kleinman of Sky News, the consortium made up of the Ricketts family and hedge fund supervillain tycoon Ken Griffin has hired investment bank Jefferies to work on its bid for Chelsea FC. The US-based bank, which is not related to Gregg Jefferies, will advise and possibly help finance a formal offer. Lazard Ltd, a financial advisory and asset management firm, is also involved in the process.

The Ricketts family had been viewed as favorites for the vaunted football club after news broke that they were headed to London to ingratiate themselves to local politicians and fans, but that latter group hasn’t greeted them warmly. In fact, a #NoToRicketts online trend has grown into an actual live protest being planned for noon Saturday at Stamford Bridge.

There are at least three different digital flyers circulating on social media, one of which criticizes the Ricketts family in general based on multiple unsavory statements and political leanings while the other lays out their actions as Cubs owners. From pointing out pay cuts, inflated ticket prices, and claims of biblical losses to questioning the family’s commitment to driving sustained success, the flyers read like an airing of grievances from Cubs fans.

“[We have] listened to all of your feedback – including from the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust – and are grateful that the door is still open for us to demonstrate our commitment to working with fans to protect the club’s heritage,” Tom Ricketts said after meeting with Chelsea supporters groups.

“It is now up to us to redouble our efforts and clearly lay out a vision for our stewardship of the club with diversity and inclusion at its heart.”

Final bids for Chelsea are due on April 11 and are expected to exceed £2.5 billion, or around $3.25 billion US, with some projecting the final total at over £3 billion ($4B US). Raine Group, which is partnered with the Ricketts family on another venture and is facilitating the sale, is expected to present the preferred bid to the government the week after bidding closes and the sale is expected to be finalized by the end of April.

There are reportedly three other finalists in the process, with Dodgers owner Todd Boehly leading one of them in conjunction with Goldman Sachs. US banker Michael Klein is partnered with Sir Martin Broughton, the former British Airways and Liverpool FC chairman, on another bid. American private equity magnate Stephen Pagliuca, who already co-owns the Boston Celtics and Atalanta of Italy’s Serie A and also, leads the fourth party.

If you weren’t already convinced that professional sports ownership is a desirable investment for the mega-rich, consider that members of these four groups control or have stakes in the Philadelphia 76ers and Sacramento Kings in addition to the teams already named.

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