The Ricketts family, who own Major League Baseball team the Chicago Cubs, a consortium featuring Lord Coe and another group led by British property investor Nick Candy have all submitted offers to buy Chelsea.
A deadline for bids was set for 21:00 GMT on Friday after the Premier League club had been put up for sale by Russian owner Roman Abramovich.
Chelsea fan Candy said that he had secured additional investment from South Korea and that his bid is “over £2bn”.
Abramovich’s attempt to sell the club was halted after he was sanctioned by the UK government and his assets, including Chelsea, were frozen.
That move came in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with Abramovich understood to have strong ties to Russian president Vladimir Putin.
American investment firm Raine Group has been tasked with selling Chelsea and the UK government is expected to issue a new licence, allowing the club to be sold, once a preferred buyer had been highlighted.
Although the official deadline to purchase the west London Premier League club was 21:00 GMT on Friday, some final bids are likely to be submitted into the weekend.
There are still more than 20 interested parties, but the number of confirmed bids is likely to be 10 to 15.
Chelsea and Raine Group will make a shortlist next week, with the preferred bidder then requiring government approval, which will involve proving the source of funds and where the money goes next.
Any sale will also need to be signed off by the Premier League’s owners’ and directors’ test – known as the ‘fit and proper person’s test’.
One of the bids was submitted by a consortium led by ex-Liverpool chairman Sir Martin Broughton and Lord Coe.
“I remain the only person [in the bidding process] to have effected a change of ownership at a major football club in a similar situation, which I did at Liverpool 12 years ago,” Broughton, who is also a former British Airways chairman, said.
“As a lifelong fan, I am committed to ensuring Chelsea maintains its preeminent position at the top of European football and making sure we put fans first.”
The consortium said fans would be “at the heart of decision making” if the bid was successful and it would “guarantee the club is never beholden to a single individual or sovereign wealth fund”.
A spokesperson for Candy’s Blue Football Consortium said: “I can confirm that the two South Korean firms Hana Financial Group and C&P Sports Group are a significant part of Mr Candy’s global consortium of investors.
“Their involvement is representative of Chelsea’s global brand and huge loyal fanbase in Asia.”
Candy added: “Football clubs are vitally important community and cultural assets, and this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to give football back to the fans and put them at the heart of the operations and strategy of a leading global football club.”
The bid from the Ricketts family is backed by billionaire hedge fund entrepreneur Ken Griffin.
Turkish businessman Muhsin Bayrak, who had previously expressed an interest in the club, said late on Friday that his company AB Group Holding had not filed a bid.
Bayrak attributed AB Group’s failure to meet the deadline to a misunderstanding with his lawyers over the auction procedure, telling news agency Reuters that he was “very upset” by the situation.
Abramovich bought Chelsea in 2003 for £140m but in his statement announcing his intention to sell he said his ownership had “never been about business nor money, but about pure passion for the game and club”.
He values the club at £3bn and has loaned the club £1.5bn – but said he will not ask for any loans to be repaid. Abramovich has also said proceeds of the sale would be donated to war victims.
The funds from the sale could go to a charitable organisation or into a frozen account.
Who are the potential bidders for Chelsea?
- A consortium led by ex-Liverpool chairman Sir Martin Broughton, and joined by London 2012 chief Lord Coe.
- The Ricketts family, who own Major League Baseball team the Chicago Cubs, are leading a bid from a group of investors.
- Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss and US businessman Todd Boehly have formed part of a consortium to try to take over Chelsea. Now joined by American PR executive Barbara Charone, British businessman Jonathan Goldstein and British journalist Daniel Finkelstein.
- London-based investment firm Aethel Partners, headed by Portuguese entrepreneur Ricardo Silva.
- British multi-millionaire businessman Nick Candy, supported by former Chelsea striker Gianluca Vialli, who co-owns Tifosy, a mergers and acquisitions company for the football sector and joined by Hana Financial Group and C&P Sports Group.
- Other parties reported to be interested include US billionaire and Philadelphia 76ers owner Josh Harris who has a stake in Crystal Palace, New York Jets owner Woody Johnson and a Saudi Arabia-based consortium.