This is the largest sum ever spent on a sports club. Roman Abramovich and Chelsea have found a buyer: A group led by Todd Boehly, co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team, has made a colossal offer of 4.25 billion pounds (4.97 billion euros) for the takeover of the Blues. “Chelsea Club can confirm that terms have been agreed for a new group of owners, led by Todd Boehly, Clearlake Capital, Mark Walter and Hansjoerg Wyss, to acquire the club,” Chelsea FC said in a statement. short press release published late in the night from Friday 6 to Saturday 7 May.
This is the end of an era that began in 2003 with the arrival at the helm of Roman Abramovich, who had bought the “Blues” for 140 million pounds. Thanks to the financial manna of the Russian oligarch, close to the Kremlin, Chelsea, until then a second knife of English football, suddenly transformed into a major player on the national and European level, accumulating in particular five titles in the Premier League. and two Champions Leagues (2012, 2021).
The billionaire in turmoil since the war in Ukraine
In the turmoil after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Russian billionaire, targeted by London sanctions, had put the London club up for sale on March 2, insisting that he would not seek repayment of the loans taken out by the club throughout its 19-year reign and that all proceeds from the operation would go to war victims. After a long bidding process involving several groups, it was that of Mr. Boehly and his investor partners who was chosen by the New York bank Raine Group, which is overseeing the sale.
“The sale is expected to be finalized at the end of May subject to obtaining all necessary regulatory approvals,” Chelsea said in its statement. The group of investors is composed, in addition to Mr. Boehly, of Mark Walter, co-owner with him of the Dodgers, of the Swiss billionaire Hansjoerg Wyss, founder of the manufacturing company of medical equipment Synthes, and of the American investment company Clearlake. Capital. “Of the total investment that will be made, 2.5 billion pounds (2.92 billion euros) will be used to buy back the club’s shares and this sum will be deposited in a UK bank account frozen with the intention to donate 100% to charity as validated by Roman Abramovich,” the club said.
A breath of fresh air for English training
“The UK government’s green light will be required for these funds to be transferred from the frozen bank account,” he added. The new owners have also pledged to invest an additional £1.75 billion (€2.04 billion) on behalf of the club, the statement said. The formalization of the takeover of Chelsea is a breath of fresh air for the English team as the operation began to drag on. Because since their sale on March 2, the “Blues” evolve in the Premier League thanks to a special license which prevents the renewal of existing contracts and the recruitment of players. A license that is due to end on May 31.