Sacramento Kings owner and technology mogul Vivek Ranadivé is readying a bid for Chelsea F.C., the English soccer team put up for sale by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich.
Ranadivé is putting the final touches on a bid for the London squad, according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be named because they aren’t authorized to speak publicly.
He would be the first person of Indian descent to own a top-flight English club if he wins the team, currently sitting third in the Premier League. He joins fellow Americans Todd Boehly and New York Jets owner Woody Johnson as known suitors for the club.
Ranadivé is well-known in NBA circles since gaining control of the California capital’s basketball franchise in 2013. Ranadivé has written he came to America with $50 in his pocket, before earning degrees from MIT and Harvard. He has gone on to amass a fortune believed to be worth over $700 million by founding enterprise computing firm Tibco in the 1990s.
A spokesperson for the Sacramento Kings, where Ranadivé oversees the club as chairman, declined to comment.
Ranadivé is well-respected among fellow NBA owners. He holds an active role on several committees that will influence the long-term direction of the league, including the blockchain advisory board and social justice coalition. He also has been successful in drawing in institutional investors to buy minority stakes in the Kings, allowing other minority partners to exit at a healthy profit. Ranadivé bought the Kings at a valuation of $534 million in 2013, a then-record for a basketball team. The Kings are now worth $2.06 billion, according to the latest valuation by Sportico.
Abramovich put Chelsea up for sale last week, as Russian billionaires are scrambling to set their affairs in order after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Chelsea is one of the most valuable soccer clubs in the world—Sportico recently valued the team at $3.35 billion, fourth-highest in England—and an auction could fetch one of the highest amounts ever paid for a sports franchise.