Boehly consortium signs agreement to take over from Roman Abramovich
Chelsea’s stadium, Stamford Bridge.
Justin Tallis | Afp | Getty Images
Todd Boehly’s consortium has signed an agreement to purchase Chelsea from Roman Abramovich.
The proposed deal, announced by the club in a statement in the early hours of Saturday morning, has to be approved by the UK Government and the Premier League before it can be completed. Chelsea say a deal is “expected to complete in late May”.
The group headed by the LA Dodgers part-owner – which includes backing from Clearlake Capital, a US investment firm – beat off late competition from £4.25billion bidder Sir Jim Ratcliffe and other consortiums led by Stephen Pagliuca and Sir Martin Broughton to win the battle to become the Premier League club’s new owners.
Chelsea had until May 31 to find a new bidder as the UK Government’s licence for the club to operate ran out on that date. With the Raine Group – hired by Abramovich to oversee the sale of the club – having chosen its preferred bidder, the government can issue a separate licence to allow the Premier League club to be sold.
The Premier League is meeting on June 8 to constitute the new season, by which time Chelsea would need to have a licence to be part of the next campaign.
Chelsea said in a statement: “Of the total investment being made, £2.5bn will be applied to purchase the shares in the Club and such proceeds will be deposited into a frozen UK bank account with the intention to donate 100 per cent to charitable causes as confirmed by Roman Abramovich.
“In addition, the proposed new owners will commit £1.75bn in further investment for the benefit of the Club. This includes investments in Stamford Bridge, the Academy, the Women’s Team and Kingsmeadow and continued funding for the Chelsea Foundation.”
Sky Sports News reported in April Boehly’s consortium was chosen as the preferred group to buy Chelsea, despite a late £4.25bn bid from Britain’s richest man Ratcliffe for the west London club – though that offer was rejected out of hand.
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The Pagliuca consortium was told at the end of last month it was out of the running to become the Raine Group’s preferred bidder. However, the Broughton consortium – led by former Liverpool and British Airways chairman Sir Martin, and including the billionaire Crystal Palace shareholders Dave Blitzer and Josh Harris – was still in the race.
Lewis Hamilton was one of the investors backing Broughton’s attempt to acquire Chelsea and is understood to have committed £10m to the bid. Tennis legend Serena Williams was also among the backers of the Broughton consortium.
A group led by the Ricketts family, which owns the Chicago Cubs, and the Citadel hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin, with the US investment bank Lazard was in the final four but withdrew its offer in March. The plans fell apart due to members of the consortium being unable to agree on the final make-up of the deal.
It is expected Chelsea will have new owners by the end of this month – nearly three months after Russian owner Abramovich, who has been at the Stamford Bridge helm for 19 years, first put the club up for sale on March 2.
The 55-year-old was sanctioned by the UK Government on March 10, with Downing Street claiming to have proven links between the Russian-Israeli billionaire and Vladimir Putin.