Nick Candy: From Prince Charles row to Chelsea Football Club bid (2024)

Who is the 49-year-old, Cotswold football fan who believes he can raise an astonishing £2.5 billion to buy Chelsea Football Club? Nick Candy is hardly a household name but if he saves the troubled London Club from ruin after owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned, then he soon will be.

For if developer Candy manages to pull off the deal of a lifetime then his days of wandering around Cotswold villages unrecognised are numbered. The eyes of soccer fans across the world are currently on this well-connected, property developer who has already persuaded rulers, oligarchs and some of the world's richest people to buy into his dreams.

But if he can really put together a plan with American investors to see Stamford Bridge redeveloped and returned to profit, he will achieve more than the "I'm sure I've heard of him but I don't know who he is" kind of fame he enjoys at the moment.

Read more: The Cotswold billionaire and his popstar wife trying to buy Chelsea football club

So far he's built the world's most expensive block of flats, married a pop star, had a spat with Prince Charles and tried to oust London Mayor Sadiq Khan without being recognised outside political, city and society circles. All that could change, starting this Sunday when he attends Chelsea's Premier League home match against Newcastle.

"We are examining the details of the announcement and we are still interested in making a bid," a spokesperson for Candy told Sportsmail. "Clearly this is a time of great uncertainty for all Chelsea fans. In our view no one is the owner of a football club – you are the custodian of it for the fans and the community."

So what do you know about Nick Candy?

It's not really rags to riches story

Many try to claim Nick and his brother rose from nothing to becoming billionaires. However Nick was born in Wimbledon in January 1973 and he and Christian spent most of their early life in Banstead, Surrey. His father Anthony ran an advertising production company and his mother Patricia was a Greek-Cypriot drama teacher.

Both boys were privately educated at Priory Preparatory School and Epsom College. Nick graduated from University of Reading with a degree in human geography and went to work for accountants KPMG. He left and went into advertising where he excelled. Younger brother Christian worked in finance.

The famous story of how he made his money

Nick told the prestigious Mipim conference that the brothers became interested in property from a "very young age” because their parents aspired to live in a better home and dragged them around houses in their youth. The rest is the stuff of legend.

Using a £6,000 loan from their grandmother they bought a flat in 1995 for £122,000, developed it and sold it 18 months later for £172,000. They started buying and renovating flats in London while still working but left to set up Candy and Candy in 1999.

The brothers did well but their big break came when they bought the Bowater House office block for £150 million in 2004 and turned the site into One Hyde Park, one of the world's most sought after addresses.

Giles Barrie, a former editor of Property Week, said convincing the Qatari royal family to spend £1 billion to create what was then the most expensive residential development in the world "sent them into warp drive,". He added, "what they’ve achieved has been eye-watering and pretty breathtaking."

He said: "They created something in property for the uber-rich that no one had thought of. They realised London was becoming a magnet for global wealth and they created a location for that super-wealth."

There followed many other high profile property schemes. Around 2011 the brothers went in different directions but still collaborated and in 2018 Candy and Candy became Candy and Co with Nick at the helm.

Nick has branched out and Candy Ventures includes a portfolio of global investments in companies ranging from local food to high tech businesses.

How he fell out with Prince Charles

In 2007 the Candy brothers entered into a joint venture with Qatari Diar, part of the Qatar government's investment arm, to buy the 12.8-acre Chelsea Barracks site from the Ministry of Defence for £959 million.

But Qatar Diar pulled out of the UK's costliest ever residential deal and in 2010, Candy's CPC Group took them to court asking for £81 million compensation.

During the court case, it emerged that Qatari Diar's decision came after Prince Charles wrote a letter telling Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al-Thani that his "heart sank" when he saw the modern design proposed for the site by Lord Rogers. There was also a meeting at Clarence House when Prince Charles was accused of pouring poison about the scheme in the Emir's ear.

Mr Justice Vos described Charles' letter as "a hand grenade" and found in favour of the Candy brothers and they came to an out of court settlement overcompensation. But it led to a long-running row with architects and planners about Prince of Wales' involvement in such matters.

He wants a bigger superyacht

According to the Guardian the brothers once owned private jets and superyachts Candyscape I and II which featured a £78,000 Perspex Schimmel piano that plays itself, a powerboat called Catch Me If You Candy. They also wore £10,000 Girard-Perregaux watches and handmade £1,000-a-pair Berluti shoes.

Nick once told a journalist that when he and his brother lived together their garage contained a Rolls-Royce Phantom, Rolls-Royce convertible, Mercedes SLR McLaren, Ferrari F430 Spider, Ferrari 575M Maranello, two Range Rovers, a Cherokee Jeep and a Renault Clio. “It was a lark,” he said. “We liked cars.”

They have property across the world and in April 2021, Bloomberg reported that Nick had placed his London penthouse on the market for £175 million and that his latest superyacht Eleven Eleven was up for sale for £45 million.

“I want to build a bigger yacht,” Candy is quoted as saying. “It’s like anything in life. Sometimes you want to have a change. Later in life, people contract their lives; at this age, I’m still expanding.”

How much is he worth?

It's not worth trying to guess. In the past, he has apparently taken umbrage with journalists who underestimate his wealth and in 2014 he was left off the Sunday Times Rich List after claiming it vastly undervalued his business interests.

As well as a property portfolio stretching from Monaco to Manhattan, he has a £10 million Cotswold mansion and a £75 million Chelsea flat.

According to Celebrity Net Worth, he and his brother are worth £1.5 billion between them.

He is married to a pop star

Holly Valance was brought up in Australia and although her Serbian father and British mother never had much money, she said: "I never felt hard done by and never wanted for anything, but I grew up in a wealthy area where I saw people being handed things on a plate. So it made me want to earn some money and be able to buy things for myself."

By the time she met Candy at a mutual friend's party in 2009, she had been modelling since the age of 14, starred in Australian soap Neighbours and was a pop star. Nick proposed in the Maldives and they married in September 2012 in Beverley Hills, California.

According to the MailOnline, he looked suave in a tuxedo by Dolce and Gabbana. "The bride, 29, wore an extravagant white gown by J'Aton Couture which boasted a full, meringue style skirt resembling feathers and a bodice like top," said the report. " She topped it off with a very exaggerated lace veil in a vintage style which also acted as a train, and carried a dramatic dark red bouquet."

Holly, who appeared in adverts for Schwarzkopf hair care products, has appeared in series such as the Pale Horse and the 2011 series of Strictly Come Dancing. But she now seems to devote her time elsewhere and is quoted as saying: "I don't want to be 35 years old and still popping out songs in miniskirts and la-la-la."

In November 2013, they had a baby and delighted Nick told The Sunday Telegraph “Holly is a perfect mother. It was a natural birth. We have decided to call her Luka Violet Toni Candy. Her nickname will be LuLu, but, if she ever goes into business, LuLu Candy doesn't quite work!” Their second daughter, Nova Skye Coco, was born in September 2017.

Nick Candy: From Prince Charles row to Chelsea Football Club bid (1)

They are a celebrity couple

The pair are said to have many famous mates and mix in celebrity circles. Simon Cowell was a guest at their swanky wedding at the height of his fame and the couple attended Princess Eugenie's wedding. They are often seen out and about at VIP events such as the opening of the Chelsea Flower Show.

Controversies

As one would expect from a man credited with shaking up the global property market, there have been a few court cases and fingers pointed at various investments and contacts.

And as the major fundraiser for Shaun Bailey’s London mayoral campaign to oust Sadiq Khan in 2020, he was drawn into the Partygate row.

In December 2021, The Daily Mirror published a photograph revealing that Nick attended a party with Bailey on December 14 2020, which allegedly would have broken coronavirus restrictions at the time.

Settling down

The brothers have lived the high life all over the world but both are now married with children.

Confirming he had bought a £10 million Cotswold mansion which has its own pool, stables, and tennis court, Nick told Richard Eden of MailOnline last summer: "We have been looking for years to get something in the Cotswolds for the family, and finally, a year ago, we found a gorgeous family home in a wonderful village. We're very immersed in our quiet country life at weekends and adore the friendly and welcoming village."

That may all change if he buys one of the biggest football clubs in the world,

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Nick Candy: From Prince Charles row to Chelsea Football Club bid (2024)

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