Serena Williams and Lewis Hamilton have joined the bidding for English soccer giant Chelsea, according to someone familiar with the plans.
The two stars, among the highest paid athletes in the world, have joined a group led by Josh Harris and David Blitzer, said the person, who was granted anonymity because the details are private. The group is one of the three remaining bidders for the soccer team, which is expected to fetch more than $4 billion.
The Chelsea sale is entering the final stages, as prospective buyers prep final offers and add new investors who might make the consortium more attractive. The Harris/Blitzer group also includes British airlines executive Martin Broughton and Sebastian Coe, a British Olympic gold medalist and politician.
The news was first reported by Sky News, which said each athlete is committing about $13 million (10 million pounds). Representatives for Harris, Blitzer and the Raine Group, which is running the sale, declined to comment; Representatives for Hamilton and Williams didn’t immediately return emails seeking comment.
Hamilton, who is British, has won the F1 championship seven times, tied with Michael Schumacher for most all-time. Last year he made $64 million from racing, including $14 million in endorsements, according to Sportico’s calculations, making him the world’s highest-paid driver and the 11th highest-paid athlete in the world.
Williams was the only woman in the top 50 (she’s No. 44, at $35.5 million total). Williams has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, most by any player in the Open Era. Her business portfolio includes a minority stake in the Miami Dolphins.
Thanks to the scale of the global soccer business and unique circumstances around the sale—Roman Abramovich decided to sell the team in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, shortly before many of his U.K. assets were frozen—the Chelsea bidding quickly became one of the most competitive franchise auctions in sports history. Billionaires on all six inhabited continent expressed interest early in the process, which has since been narrowed to three groups. In addition to Harris and Blitzer, the remaining contenders are led by Boston Celtics owner Steve Pagliuca and Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly, respectively.
Harris and Blitzer are co-partners in Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, the parent of the Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Devils and the Prudential Center. They are both minority investors in English soccer club Crystal Palace and would need to sell those stakes if they win the Chelsea auction.