Roman Abramovich’s resolve to remain as Chelsea’s owner may be tested by a consortium of German investors interested in buying the club.
Dr Sulaiman al Fahim, who represented Sheikh Mansour in his £200m takeover of City, is understood to be working with the Switzerland-based private equity firm Falcon Equity on a proposal to buy the west London club.
“It’s not entirely clear if Chelsea is for sale, but regardless of that, we first need to see if we are in a position to buy it,” Al Fahim said.
“Given that Roman Abramovich has invested over £500m into the club, it would not be cheap, and with the current credit crunch, nobody wants to be over-exposed on one deal. But through a number of investors, there is money available to put together a deal.”
Falcon Equity’s managing partner Holger Heims said on the Arabian Business website: “We have looked before at some European clubs to see if the numbers added up, and now we are doing the same with Chelsea.
“I don’t believe anything is ever not for sale if you come up with the right price. It’s not about trying to buy a football team but about a business. You don’t make money because 11 guys run around the pitch, you make money because of all the other commercial aspects that go with a football club, particularly real estate and television rights.”
Abramovich, who bought Chelsea in a deal worth £140m in 2003, has not stated any interest in selling the club, but amid heavy losses he suffered in the global financial crisis, there has been speculation that he is looking to offload some of his assets.
Last weekend, the chief executive Peter Kenyon denied Abramovich was looking to sell, claiming: “Chelsea is not for sale. The owner has not and is not looking to sell his interest in the club and he remains as committed as ever.”