Sir Jim Ratcliffe: Who is Chelsea's potential buyer?

Sean Walsh
Ratcliffe has been linked with buying Chelsea
Ratcliffe has been linked with buying Chelsea / Bryn Lennon/GettyImages

Sir Jim Ratcliffe has made a last-minute bid to buy Chelsea FC for in excess of £4bn.

90min first revealed the British billionaire's interest before Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich put the club up for sale way back on 1 March, and he has confirmed he has made an offer having initially distanced himself from a takeover.

But who is Ratcliffe, how much is he worth, why would he buy Chelsea and how much for? Here's a profile of the man interested in taking over at Stamford Bridge.

Who is Sir Jim Ratcliffe?

Ratcliffe is the chairman and CEO of Ineos, the fourth largest chemicals company in the world.

He graduated from the University of Birmingham with a degree in chemical engineering in 1974, before taking a MSc in finance at the London Business School in 1978.

After co-founding chemical company Inspec, Ratcliffe formed Ineos in 1998 and has been in charge ever since.

What is Sir Jim Ratcliffe's net worth?

Ratcliffe's net worth was estimated at $28.2bn (roughly £21.2bn) by Bloomberg Billionaires Index in April 2020, which would make him the 55th richest person in the world.

Does Sir Jim Ratcliffe have experience in football?

Ratcliffe and Ineos currently own two European football clubs.

In 2017, they bought Swiss Super League side FC Lausanne-Sport, before sealing a deal to buy Ligue 1 club Nice two years later.

Ratcliffe has also dipped his toes into the worlds of other sports, too. Ineos is notably the principal partner of Sir Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes AMG Formula 1 team, while Ratcliffe and Sir Ben Ainslie have previously partnered to compete in the America's Cup.

Has Sir Jim Ratcliffe been linked with before Chelsea?

In 2020, Ratcliffe played down talk that he would be submitting a bid to buy Chelsea, insisting he had quite a busy plate in sport already.

"We are very comfortable with where we are with Nice actually," he said at the time.

"It's going quite well, it's been quite interesting, we are still learning and it is quite a challenging league in France with some very talented players."

Why would Sir Jim Ratcliffe buy Chelsea?

While Ratcliffe previously stated that he was not interested in buying Chelsea, circumstances have changed. The club weren't necessarily up for sale in 2020, and the Blues have since re-emerged as a force in English and European football.

If Ratcliffe - or any other billionaire with enough time and spare change on their hands - wanted to buy a top Premier League club, this is a great opening for them. Chelsea are a huge brand in a major city and a history of success.

A statement read: “This is a British bid for a British club.

"We believe that a club is bigger than its owners who are temporary custodians of a great tradition. With responsibility to the fans and the community."

It continued: "We believe that London should have a club that reflects the stature of the city. One that is held in the same regard as Real Madrid, Barcelona or Bayern Munich.

"We intend Chelsea to be that club. We are making this investment as fans of the beautiful game – not as a means to turn a profit. We do that with our core businesses. The club is rooted in its community and its fans. And it is our intention to invest in Chelsea FC for that reason.”

How much could Sir Jim Ratcliffe buy Chelsea for?

Ineos have confirmed Ratcliffe's bid is worth £4.25bn. That includes an investment pledge of £1.75bn over the next decade, including redeveloping Stamford Bridge and investing in the playing squad.

Meanwhile, £2.5bn will be committed to the charitable trust to support victims of the war in Ukraine.