London (United Kingdom), 13/03/2022.- A man waves a Chelsea flag during the English Premier League soccer match between Chelsea FC and Newcastle United in London, Britain, 13 March 2022. (Reino Unido, Londres) EFE/EPA/ANDY RAIN EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications | Reuters - ANDY RAIN

The owners of U.S. baseball team the Chicago Cubs have teamed up with Citadel founder Ken Griffin to work on a bid to buy English Premier League soccer club Chelsea, the two parties confirmed to Reuters today.

The Cubs' owners, the Ricketts family, and Griffin have formed an investment group which is set to make a formal offer for the London club on Friday.

Reuters has been told the bid does not involve Citadel, the hedge fund business, only Griffin. The Ricketts family said they would be leading the investment group that will make the bid.

"As long-time operators of an iconic professional sports team, the Ricketts Family and their partners understand the importance of investing for success on the pitch, while respecting the traditions of the club, the fans and the community," it said in a statement.

Chelsea were initially put up for sale by its owner Roman Abramovich following Russia's invasion of Ukraine before sanctions were imposed on the Russian oligarch by the British government.

The European champions are currently operating under a special licence and are now effectively controlled by the British government. Abramovich bought the club in 2003 for a reported 140 million pounds ($183.16 million). He had funded Chelsea via 1.5 billion pounds in total loans through Fordstam Limited, the entity through which he owns the club.

His investment resulted in the most successful era in their history as they won five Premier League titles, five FA Cups and the Champions League twice. Chelsea are ranked by Forbes as the seventh most valuable club in world soccer at $3.2 billion. The club are third in the league standings -- 11 points behind leaders Manchester City.