Hana-backed consortium out of race to buy Chelsea
A consortium backed by Hana Financial Group is out of the race to buy Premier League club Chelsea after being excluded from a list of preferred bidders announced last week.
A total of four preferred bidders have been chosen by The Raine Group, which is managing the sale, but the list has not been disclosed to the public. Chicago Cubs owners the Ricketts family, Los Angeles Dodgers part-owner Todd Boehly and former Liverpool chairman Sir Martin Broughton are all reportedly on the list, although the fourth bidder is unknown.
According to multiple reports, the Hana-backed consortium is not on that list.
Hana Financial Group were part of a consortium led by British property developer Nick Candy which also included Korean sports management group C&P Sports and another unnamed Korean backer. The consortium, known as the Blue Football Consortium, reportedly bid over £2.5 billion ($4 billion) for the club.
Although neither the bidding process nor the preferred bidder selection has been public, Candy has been very outspoken about his efforts to buy the club. Following the news that the preferred bidders had been chosen, Candy's spokesperson made it clear that the property developer and long-term Chelsea fan was still hoping to be involved in the club.
"We continue to evaluate and participate in meaningful conversations in the bidding process," Candy's spokesperson was quoted as saying by Sky Sports.
While the Blue Football Consortium may have reached the end of the road, C&P Sports CEO Catalina Kim said in a statement Friday that the Korean companies would seek to join another bid.
"We, the group of C&P Sports, Hana Financial and other strategic investors from South Korea, were suggested to join another consortium," Kim said in a statement reported by Football.London. "We thank Mr Nick Candy for our journey and wish him the best luck for his future."
Chelsea was put up for sale by owner Roman Abramovich following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The Russian oligarch has since been sanctioned by the British government, freezing his assets, but the club was granted permission to continue operations.
Since sanctions were introduced, the club has been unable to sell tickets to games or merchandise. The club is allowed to be sold, but Abramovich can not benefit from the proceeds.
Hana Financial Group is already heavily invested in football as the main sponsor of the K League and the Korean national football team and the owner of K League 2 club Daejeon Hana Citizen.
C&P Sports is a London-based sports management firm that specializes in linking European football clubs with Korean companies and players, including establishing the partnership between Tottenham Hotspur and Kumho Tire.
BY JIM BULLEY [firstname.lastname@example.org]