Chelsea FC sale cleared

Todd Boehly Completes Takeover of UK’s Chelsea Football Club

A Chelsea Football Club emblem at Stamford Bridge Stadium in London, U.K., on Friday, March 18, 2022. One side effect of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is uncertainty about the future of London’s Chelsea Football Club, one of the most glamorous franchises in the world’s most popular sport. Photographer: Chris J. Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

US investor Todd Boehly has completed his £4.25 billion ($5.4 billion) takeover of Chelsea Football Club from the sanctioned Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich. 

By David Hellier

Word Count: 388
(Bloomberg) —Chelsea confirmed the completion of the deal in a statement Monday. It ends almost 20 years of ownership under billionaire Abramovich, during which the club rose to become one of the dominant forces in the English Premier League.

Abramovich was forced to put the team up for sale earlier this year, shortly before being sanctioned as part of the UK’s response to Russia’s war in Ukraine. Raine Group, the US advisory firm, was tasked with handling the sale of one of the biggest brands in European sport.

“The club received more than 250 enquiries from proposed purchasers,” Chelsea said in a statement. “Ultimately, the club received 12 credible bids.”

These where whittled down to just three, with Boehly beating out competition from rival consortiums led by British businessman Martin Broughton and Bain Capital co-chairman Stephen Pagliuca. There was also a late proposal from British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe.

Boehly’s winning bid is backed by California-based private equity firm Clearlake Capital. It includes a £2.5 billion purchase of shares and £1.75 billion for further investments to benefit the club.

The process was complicated by the need to comply with sanctions and ensure none of the proceeds found their way to Abramovich, but instead to charitable causes. The bid was signed off by the EPL and UK government last week.

“We’re all in – 100% — every minute of every match,” Boehly said in a separate statement. “Along with our commitment to developing the youth squad and acquiring the best talent, our plan of action is to invest in the club for the long-term and build on Chelsea’s remarkable history of success.”

Chelsea won 21 trophies under Abramovich, including the EPL five times and the UEFA Champions League twice. The club’s takeover by Boehly, one of the owners of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team and former Guggenheim Partners president, is a milestone moment for elite football in England. It means that next season, for the first time, more than half the teams competing in the EPL will be backed by American money.

Boehly was advised by Deutsche Bank AG, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Moelis & Company LLC and Robey Warshaw.

(Updates with detail of sale process in seventh paragraph. The value of the deal was corrected in an earlier version of this story.)
© 2022 Bloomberg L.P.

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