NBA chairman Larry Tanenbaum is among the investors to have joined the bid led by Stephen Pagliuca to buy Chelsea.
Pagliuca, the co-owner of the NBA’s Boston Celtics as well as Serie A side Atalanta, was at St Mary’s Stadium on Saturday to watch Chelsea thump Southampton 6-0, before holding talks with advisors and club executives.
He has been looking around for investors to join his bid, having previously approached former Walt Disney chairman Bob Iger, and now Sky News report that he has struck a deal with Tanenbaum, who also chairs the Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE) group that owns the Toronto Raptors, MLS side Toronto FC and NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs.
Before the final shortlist of bidders was announced, Tanenbaum was said to have launched his own bid to buy Chelsea.
The Canadian has now agreed to back Pagliuca, who has also received support from John Burbank, founder of the San Francisco hedge fund Passport Capital, and Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin.
Tanenbaum’s MLSE have a rich history of investment in sports property development, owning and investing in stadiums for each of their teams.
On top of offering up some financial support, Tanenbaum is expected to help Pagliuca with his longstanding work to combat antisemitism – a fight which current Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has long supported with significant funding.
Tanenbaum has earned significant praise for his willingness to use his platform and wealth to promote change across society, and sources close to the bid believe this could work in Pagliuca’s favour.