Influential businessman Lord Karan Bilimoria has been added to the Ricketts family’s bid to buy Chelsea Football Club.
The Cobra Beer founder, who is a lifelong Chelsea fan, joins a consortium led by US multi-billionaires Ken Griffin and Dan Gilbert and Tom and Laura Ricketts – owners of the Chicago Cubs baseball team.
“I founded Cobra Beer just down the road from Stamford Bridge and have been a season ticket holder for many years,” said Lord Bilimoria.
“So when Tom Ricketts approached me to discuss a leading role in his bid group, there was no way I could refuse.
“Tom and the wider group have a proven track record of running successful sports teams and a strong vision for both the club and the local community,” added Lord Bilimoria, who is the president of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).
Aside from being a successful businessman and politician, Lord Bilimoria is leading campaigner for equality and diversity.
He is the founding chairman of the UK India Business Council and is also chair of Change the Race Ratio, which is committed to increasing and championing ethnic minority diversity across businesses in the UK.
“The move will further boost the bid team’s credentials and its connection with UK business, sport and politics,” the Ricketts family said in a statement.
“Lord Bilimoria would join the Board of Chelsea as a Director if the bid is successful. He will act as an ambassador and support the club’s philanthropic programmes.”
Tom Ricketts added: “We have always been clear that having local expertise and perspectives on our bid is vital. Given Lord Bilimoria’s unparalleled credentials and his love for Chelsea, he is the perfect addition to our team.”
Chelsea were initially put up for sale by owner Roman Abramovich following Russia’s invasion and before sanctions were imposed on the oligarch by the British government, effectively giving it control of the club.
The Ricketts family, LA Dodgers part-owner Todd Boehly and British business titan Jonathan Goldstein, Sir Martin Broughton and Lord Sebastian Coe, and Boston Celtics co-owner Steve Pagliuca are the final four contenders to buy the Blues.
The club’s sale is being overseen by US bank Raine Group with a deadline set for April 14th for final bids.
Raine will then put forward their preferred bid to the Government. The takeover of the club is expected to go through next month, with the sale expected to reach a sports-franchise record £3billion.