Abramovich's exit will not be rushed: Chelsea's banker speaks


Roman Abramovich

Agency Reporter

Roman Abramovich will not rush his divestment of English football team Chelsea FC, an adviser on the sale process told Reuters, even as Britain is considering sanctions against the Russian billionaire.

Chelsea FC tapped Joe Ravitch, the co-founder of investment bank Raine Group LLC, to find a buyer after Abramovich decided this week to put the football club he has owned for 19 years up for sale.

The move follows Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that has triggered an international backlash against businessmen with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson faces mounting pressure from political opposition as well as members of his own party for Abramovich to be included in sanctions that his government has started rolling out against so-called Russian oligarchs.

British officials have said they are considering the move but must build a solid legal case before proceeding.

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Ravitch said in an interview that his client would take enough time to strike a balance between securing a fair price and finding the “best steward” for Chelsea FC and its supporters.

“We are not going to rush anything. It is very important that Chelsea have the right owner to guide the club forward,” Ravitch said, adding that he could not publicly discuss details of the sale process. A spokesperson for Abramovich did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Abramovich has instructed his aides to set up a charitable foundation that will receive all net proceeds from the sale of Chelsea FC for the benefit of victims form the war in Ukraine.

People familiar with the matter said Abramovich expects the West London club to fetch more than 3 billion pounds ($4 billion) and that the sale process may run for about a month before a buyer is identified and a deal is agreed.

In a sign that Abramovich won’t compromise on his valuation expectations, Chelsea FC rejected an offer of 2.5 billion pounds from an investor last week.

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