London – Chelsea confirmed on Saturday that a consortium led by LA Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly has won the battle to buy the Premier League club in a £ 4.25bn ($ 5.2bn) deal.
Owner Roman Abramovich put Chelsea on the market in early March, just days before being sanctioned by the British government following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
After a lengthy bidding process involving several groups, Boehly and his fellow investors were chosen by Raine Group, the New York-based bank overseeing the sale.
The Boehly consortium includes fellow co-owner of the Dodgers baseball franchise, Mark Walter, Swiss billionaire Hansjoerg Wyss, and US investment firm Clearlake Capital.
“Chelsea Football Club can confirm that terms have been agreed for a new ownership group, led by Todd Boehly, Clearlake Capital, Mark Walter and Hansjoerg Wyss, to acquire the club,” they said in a statement.
“From the total investment made, £ 2.5 billion will be applied towards the purchase of the club’s shares and such proceeds will be deposited into a frozen UK bank account with the intention of donating 100% to charitable causes. as confirmed by Roman Abramovich.
“UK government approval will be required to transfer the proceeds from the frozen UK bank account.”
In addition, the new owners will pledge £ 1.75 billion in further investments “for the benefit of the club”, Chelsea said.
The total deal value beats a sports team’s previous sales record: $ 2.4 billion for the New York Mets baseball franchise in 2020.
Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel, speaking ahead of Saturday’s home game against Wolves, welcomed the news of the sale.
“It gives us perspective if the terms are agreed and we hope the process will be streamlined and move forward as soon as possible. Good news, ”Tuchel said.
Asked if he had met the potential owners, Tuchel added: “Not yet, I haven’t been involved so far, maybe this will happen soon.
“We are looking exactly for an answer from all of us, not just from the players, we do it together. It’s not an extra motivation, we just remembered what it takes to win football matches. “
Chelsea’s 42,000-seat home at Stamford Bridge is in need of major redevelopment to accommodate the size of the stadium and the income streams enjoyed by rivals.
But Boehly has a track record of delivering both stadium improvement and sporting success with the Dodgers.
Thanks to heavy investment in players, the Dodgers have entered the MLB playoffs every season for the past nine years and won their first World Series in 32 years in 2020.
Boehly’s consortium has yet to meet the Premier League owners and directors test, but Chelsea said they expect the sale to be completed by the end of the month.
Boehly is expected to participate in the Premier League clash with the Wolves.
The Chelsea Supporters’ Trust said: “We will continue to have close discussions with potential owners,” a statement read. “We are optimistic about the future of #CFC. We hope the sale ends quickly. “
Chelsea have been forced to operate under a special license from the UK government since Abramovich, who bought the club in 2003, was sanctioned.
The billionaire, described by the UK government as part of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle, vowed to cancel the club’s £ 1.5 billion debt to him and said all proceeds from the sale would go to victims of the war in Ukraine.
There had been fears for Chelsea’s future if a sale was not finalized before the license expires on 31 May – ministers warned the club was on “borrowed time”.
Under the terms of the license, Chelsea have been unable to offer new contracts to existing players or sign players from other clubs.
The sale of the European champions brings the curtain down on 19 years of almost uninterrupted success under the leadership of 55-year-old Abramovich, who oversaw five Premier League titles and two Champions League triumphs.
Chelsea are expected to secure a place in next season’s Champions League by finishing in the top four of the Premier League.
And they can still add a major 20th Abramovich-era trophy when they face Liverpool in next week’s FA Cup final.
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