The attempt to find a buyer for Chelsea is moving forward with a consortium led by Todd Boehly in the driving seat.
Boehly has signed a purchase agreement to buy Chelsea, the UK's Press Association reported early on Saturday.
The Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner's consortium bid for the Blues will now be put forward for approval by the government and the Premier League, after sanctions were slapped on Chelsea’s owner, the Russian billionaire businessman Roman Abramovich.
The Eldridge Industries chief executive was in London on Friday, and expected to attend Chelsea's Premier League game with Wolves at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
Boehly leads the consortium bid, but US investment firm Clearlake Capital investment is expected to hold the majority stake.
The Boehly consortium is understood to have agreed to clauses that block the payment of dividends or management fees until 2032, also barring the sale of any Chelsea shares for 10 years.
The signed purchase agreement represents a major step forward in the Chelsea takeover, that has moved on apace since March 2 when Mr Abramovich put the club up for sale, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
The developments came after a statement from Mr Abramovich saying he has no plans to keep any of the proceeds from Chelsea's sale, or seek to have any loans repaid.
Mr Abramovich said he expects the loan to be frozen on completion of Chelsea's sale, with Mr Boehly's bid now moving ever closer to success.
The government must issue a new licence as the final part of Chelsea's sale, after Mr Abramovich was sanctioned by Downing Street on March 10.
Chelsea's sale has a deadline of May 31, when the government's temporary licence for the Blues expires.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Britain's richest man, tabled a last-ditch bid to buy Chelsea last week, just as New York merchant bank Raine Group was preparing to confirm Mr Boehly's consortium as the preferred bidder.
Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel said on Friday he was “confident” the Blues were closing in on a sale of the club.
“I've been told last week that we have a preferred bidder and things are going forward,” said Mr Tuchel.
“It's a pretty important week for the club, but I was fully focused on the pitch. But after what I heard last week I'm confident.”