New owners revealed as Abramovich era ends at Chelsea
Premier League side Chelsea have confirmed that a consortium led by Todd Boehly has signed a contract to purchase the club from Roman Abramovich in a deal worth £4.25 billion ($5.2 billion).
Abramovich, who purchased the club in 2003 and oversaw their growth into one of Europe's elite football clubs, put his interest in the team up for sale in March shortly before he was sanctioned by the UK government in the wake of the Russian military campaign in Ukraine.
A statement issued by Chelsea overnight said that the club's new owners will pay £2.5 billion ($3 billion) to purchase a controlling stake - with the proceeds to go into a frozen bank account and donated to charity.
The deal will require approval from the Premier League and the UK government but it is expected that both entities will sign off on the terms of the purchase agreement.
Boehly - who is expected to be present for Chelsea's match with Wolves at Stamford Bridge on Saturday afternoon - has emerged victorious from a dramatic race which saw several suitors spar for control of one of Europe's biggest football clubs since it was placed on the market by Abramovich.
The American will remain the public face of the consortium but he is backed by Californian private equity firm Clearlake Capital, as well as Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss and Jonathan Goldstein, a British property developer.
Mark Walter, the chairman of the Los Angeles Dodgers, is also involved.
Club Statement.— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) May 7, 2022
“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,” Chelsea said in a statement.
“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.
“The sale is expected to complete in late May subject to all necessary regulatory approvals. More details will be provided at that time.”
The takeover had appeared to hit a snag this week when media reports circulated which suggested that Abramovich had changed the terms of the prospective deal, which led to concerns that the Chelsea may fail to reach a deadline to ensure their status as a Premier League club.
However, the Russian billionaire subsequently rubbished those reports in a statement he issued via the Chelsea website.
The ownership change, when it is made official, will allow Chelsea to operate as a normal club once again and outside of the sanctions imposed on them due to the connection to Abramovich.
They are currently unable to extend player contracts or pursue transfer targets under the sanctions - but it is expected that the new ownership will seek to strengthen the playing squad when the summer transfer window opens.