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Chelsea FC sale: Boehly-led consortium signs purchase agreement to buy club

Written by on 7 May 2022

A consortium led by LA Dodgers part-owner Todd Boehly and backed by Clearlake Capital has signed a purchase agreement to buy Chelsea Football Club.

Chelsea confirmed that terms had been agreed for the new ownership group led by Mr Boehly, Clearlake Capital, Mark Walter and Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss to acquire the club in a deal reportedly worth around £4.25bn.

Mr Boehly, Eldridge Industries chief executive, leads the consortium bid, but US investment firm Clearlake Capital is expected to hold the majority stake.

The proposal will now go before the UK government and the Premier League for approval.

In a statement provided to Sky News, Chelsea said: “The sale is expected to complete in late May subject to all necessary regulatory approvals.

“More details will be provided at that time.”

Mr Boehly was in London on Friday night, and is expected to attend Chelsea’s Premier League clash with Wolves at Stamford Bridge later today.

The club has been owned by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich since 2003 and it has won 19 major trophies during his tenure.

But in March he put the club up for sale just days before he was sanctioned by the British government in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The government accusing him of having had a “close relationship for decades” with Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Todd Boehly, Chairman and CEO, Eldridge Industries, speaks at the 2019 Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, U.S., April 30, 2019 Image: Todd Boehly leads the consortium bid but Clearlake Capital is expected to hold the majority stake

Several parties expressed interest but groups led by Boston Celtics co-owner Stephen Pagliuca and former British Airways chairman Martin Broughton were eliminated from the bidding process.

A consortium led by Chicago Cubs owners the Ricketts family pulled out of the running, and a late bid from British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe was rejected.

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.

Chelsea FC said of the deal with Mr Boehly’s consortium: “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% to charitable causes as confirmed by Roman Abramovich.

“UK government approval will be required for the proceeds to be transferred from the frozen UK bank account.

“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.”

Mr Abramovich insisted on Thursday that he still wants to write off Chelsea’s £1.5bn debt to him when the club’s sale is complete.

That loan cannot be written off under the terms of Mr Abramovich’s sanctions however, and it is expected to be frozen on completion of the sale.

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