Britain's richest man reportedly set to take over Team Sky cycling operation

Key Points
  • Sir Jim Ratcliffe owns petrochemicals company Ineos and is worth £21 billion ($27.7 billion).
  • Team Sky riders have won six Tour de France titles.
  • Ratcliffe has already invested $145 million into a British team to compete in sailing’s America’s Cup in 2021.
Jim Ratcliffe visits the Ineos oil refinery in Grangemouth, Scotland.
Andy Buchanan | AFP | Getty Images

Great Britain's richest man Sir Jim Ratcliffe is set to become the new owner of champion cycling outfit Team Sky, according to a number of reports.

Ratcliffe owns petrochemicals company Ineos and is worth £21 billion ($27.7 billion). He is said to have had several conversations with Team Sky's existing Team Principal Sir Dave Brailsford during the past few weeks.

Ineos is Britain's largest privately owned company and in 2018 posted annual pre-tax profits of $2.64 bn.

Ratcliffe has already invested $145 million in three-time Olympic sailing Gold Medalist Sir Ben Ainslie's Americas Cup team. Together Ainslie and Ratcliffe are bidding to win the famous yachting trophy in 2021 with the first all British team.

Team Sky has had unprecedented levels of success since its formation in 2010, winning the Tour de France through Sir Bradley Wiggins just two years later. Since then it has had a rider go on to take the title five more times, with Chris Froome claiming four of those Yellow Jersey wins.

However, in the wake of Sky's takeover from Comcast (also the parent company of CNBC) last year, it was announced the existing sponsorship of the team name would be coming to an end.

It now appears Brailsford has found another British backer in Ratcliffe, who is also a keen cyclist to take up the mantle and fund the teams annual budget which stands close to $40 million per year.

This year's Tour de France begins on July 6th and the "Grand Depart" takes place from Brussels to Charleroi in Belgium for its opening stage.

Ineos declined the chance to respond to CNBC's request for comment at the time of writing.