Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s company INEOS considered buying several Premier League clubs, including Chelsea and Newcastle, according to the billionaire’s brother.
Chemicals firm INEOS recently completed an £88.77million takeover of Ligue 1 Nice.
Prior to that purchase, the company looked at the possibility of buying a team in England’s top flight.
Ratcliffe’s brother Bob, who heads up INEOS’ football division, told BBC Radio Five Live’s Sportsweek that it was ‘pretty difficult to rationalise purchases in the Premier League at this time’.
“We’d obviously been looking at Premiership clubs as well. We spent quite a lot of time looking at Premier League clubs,” Bob Ratcliffe said.
“We looked at the valuation of Premiership clubs and £5billion in revenues for the Premier League and the top six clubs are being valued at £2billion and upwards, and £450million of net profit before tax.
“It’s pretty difficult to rationalise purchases in the Premier League at this time for us and then, if you look below the top six, they’re all £150million and above and you’re going to write a cheque for £50million and get in the ‘Everton Cup’.”
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Bob Ratcliffe said that INEOS did not get as far as discussing a possible takeover of Chelsea with owner Roman Abramovich.
“No. There was some exchange, but we were a long way apart on valuation,” he said. “I can’t recollect how far it was, but it was significant.
“It was early exchanges and the issue with Chelsea as well is that it’s got a stadium issue and we’re all getting older and that’s a decade of your life to resolve that.”
Bob Ratcliffe said INEOS, who took over and rebranded cycling’s Team Sky in May, had considered buying other Premier League clubs.
“In fairness you look at Newcastle, and we looked at a lot of clubs in the Premiership, after the sort of noise around Chelsea, people talked to us about a high proportion of clubs,” he added.
“Obviously people talked to us about Newcastle as well. But again you come back to a valuation in the hundreds of millions and it’s very difficult to contemplate.”
When asked if the Premier League was now off INEOS’ radar, Bob Ratcliffe added: “I think for the foreseeable future it is.
“We’ve got a three to five-year project in Nice now and that’s going to keep us very busy.”