Chelsea have confirmed that terms have been agreed for Todd Boehly to complete his £4.25billion takeover of the club.
Boehly’s consortium was named as the preferred bidder to take over at Stamford Bridge by the Raine Group, the American bank who are overseeing the sale. He has partnered with fellow Dodgers owner Mark Walter, Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss as well as investment firm Clearlake Capital.
Boehly saw off competition from consortiums fronted by Stephen Pagliuca and Sir Martin Broughton and even a late £4.25bn bid from Britain’s richest man Sir Jim Ratcliffe.
Eldridge Industries chief executive Boehly was in London on Friday night, and is expected to attend Chelsea’s Premier League clash with Wolves at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
Chelsea confirmed on their official website in the early hours of Saturday morning that Boehly and his consortium can purchase the club, following the UK Government’s approval.
The statement read: ‘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.
‘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. 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.
‘The sale is expected to complete in late May subject to all necessary regulatory approvals. More details will be provided at that time.’
Uncertainty over Chelsea’s future has lasted months after the Government sanctioned former owner Roman Abramovich in March following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
But now the takeover saga is set to end with Abramovich completing the sale to Boehly following a sign-off from the Government and the Premier League.
Fears grew this week that Abramovich, who was selling his shares after being sanctioned over his links to Vladimir Putin, could renege on his promise to write off a £1.6bn loan and leave the Blues in jeopardy.
Doing so would have thrown a major spanner in the works for any potential takeover, as UK ministers approving the sale wanted none of the proceeds from it to go to the Russian.
Instead, they were keen for the money to go towards helping rebuild Ukraine after they were invaded by Russian troops.
News of Abramovich attempting to restructure the takeover agreement – which would require Chelsea’s parent company, Fordstam, to pay off the debt held in trust at Jersey-based company Camberley International Investments – came as a shock to Government officials.
But the Government are now satisfied that none of the £1.6bn will end up with Abramovich or members of his family.
The Premier League club had to operate on a special licence provided by the Government in the wake of sanctions imposed on Abramovich.
If they were not fully licensed by the time the Premier League held its AGM on June 8, Chelsea risked expulsion from England’s top flight and European competitions.
The club would not have been eligible to re-enter the Premier League in that case, nor would they be put forward by the FA as Champions League or Europa League representatives.
Ratcliffe made a last-minute, £4bn-plus offer to buy Chelsea with the owner of Ineos, the petrochemicals company, submitting his offer last Friday.
But the Chelsea season-ticket holder has missed out as have the consortium led by Sir Martin Broughton, the former Liverpool chairman, and the group including Pagliuca, who co-owns the Boston Celtics, and Toronto Maple Leafs backer Larry Tanenbaum.
The offer prepared by Broughton, the ex-chairman of Liverpool and British Airways, received investment from sports stars Lewis Hamilton – who is an Arsenal fan – and Serena Williams.
The bulk of the funding for their bid was being provided by the owners of the Philadelphia 76ers basketball team, Josh Harris and David Blitzer, who would have had to sell their shares in Crystal Palace should they have bought another club.
Pagliuca, the owner of NBA team Boston Celtics, had partnered up with Tanenbaum and committed to ‘lifetime ownership’ of Chelsea if their joint bid to buy the club was successful.
The Ricketts family, owners of the Chicago Cubs baseball team, withdrew from the race earlier in the process.
Who is Todd Boehly?
Todd Boehly is a businessman, philanthropist and investor born in the United States of America. Boehly, 46, is married to Katie Boehly and the couple have three sons together – Nick, Zach and Clay.
He is known for being co-founder, chief executive officer, chairman and controlling member of private investment firm Eldridge Industries. Boehly went to school in Bethesda, Maryland before crossing the pond to study at the London School of Economics. After that, he began working at Citibank, and he hasn’t looked back since, going on to have great success in the world of finance.
The restrictions cannot yet be fully removed while the issue of the outstanding debt remains, but there is now growing confidence that Chelsea will see most of their restrictions lifted and any fears that the club could collapse or miss out on next season’s Premier League will soon be put to bed.
Government officials have already conducted background checks on Boehly and his consortium, and there are not expected to be any obstacles in the way from this point forward.
Boehly is heading a consortium alongside Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss and London-based property investor Jonathan Goldstein. The Consortium is also joined by Clearlake Capital, a California-based investment firm. Clearlake Capital reportedly have $60billion (£45.5billion) of assets under management.
The Roman Abramovich era is finally over after 19 solid years. The Russian Oligarch purchased the London club for £140 million ($233 million at the time) in 2003 from Ken Bates.
Abramovich is reported to have invested over £1 billion ($1.4 billion), there were rumours that he would be requesting his loan to the club back but Abramovich was quick to dispel those rumours with a statement via the club website.
A spokesperson for the club owner said: “Firstly, Mr Abramovich’s intentions in relation to gifting the proceeds from the Chelsea sale to charity have not changed.
“Mr Abramovich has not asked for any loan to be repaid to him – such suggestions are entirely false – as are suggestions that Mr Abramovich increased the price of the club last minute.