A group of up to eight international investors is mulling a bid for English Premier League club Chelsea, one of the investors has told Reuters.
Holger Heims, a German investment manager at Falcon Equity, said in an interview that he and a group of six to seven other investors from Europe, the Middle East and Asia were preparing a takeover offer for the west London club.
Sulaiman al-Fahim, board member of Abu Dhabi United Group for Development and Investment, which last year bought Premier League Manchester City, was also part of the group, Heims said.
A Chelsea spokesman said on Tuesday the club was aware of Heims's statements but its position was unchanged from when chief executive Peter Kenyon issued a statement earlier this month, saying:
"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."
Chelsea has been owned since 2003 by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, who has bankrolled the club's most successful period since it was formed in 1905.
In his time as owner, they have won the Premier League title twice, the FA Cup once and the League Cup twice.
So far there had not been any talks with Abramovich, Heims said. "We have no intention of launching a hostile takeover. This is only possible as a friendly deal," Heims said.
Heims declined to say how much the group was prepared to pay for Chelsea but said the investment had to add up in the medium to long run.
Germany's tabloid Bild newspaper earlier reported a possible price tag of 770 million euros ($1.01 billion).
Heims said he aimed to push the Chelsea brand further and saw strong growth potential in Asia and the Arab world.