LONDON (AP) — Chelsea are being sold to a consortium led by U.S. sports investor Todd Boehly, ending 19 years of Roman Abramovich’s lavish ownership and investment until the Russian oligarch was sanctioned and forced to offload the Premier League club.
The sale price of 2.5 billion pounds ($3.1 billion) is the most lucrative ever for a sports team in the world, but Abramovich cannot receive the proceeds, which he hopes will will go to a foundation for the victims of the war in Ukraine. A further £1.75 billion ($2.2 billion) will be invested in the reigning FIFA Club World Cup winners.
Chelsea said on Saturday that the terms of the takeover of the west London club had been agreed with a consortium also including Mark Walter, who is also part of the Dodgers group, Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss and funding from the capital firm. Clearlake Capital investment.
The Premier League must approve them as new owners and the government must sign the new one under the terms of the license which allows Chelsea to continue operating as a business until May 31 when he is one Abramovich’s frozen assets.
Abramovich has said he will write off loans of more than 1.5 billion pounds ($1.9 billion) to Chelsea, but that has been complicated by sanctions put in place by the UK government as part of a crackdown on wealthy Russians linked to President Vladimir. Putin after the invasion of Ukraine in February. Chelsea still expect the sale to be completed by the end of May.
“Profits will be deposited into a frozen UK bank account with the intention of donating 100% to charitable causes, as confirmed by Roman Abramovich,” Chelsea said in a statement.
Boehly is already in London and was due to attend Chelsea’s Premier League game against Wolverhampton at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. Thomas Tuchel’s side are third in the standings with four games to go with the title out of reach but Champions League qualification is closer to being assured.
Chelsea have the smallest and most dated stadium of the Premier League’s most successful clubs, with plans to rebuild the 41,000-seater site put on hold by Abramovich in 2018 as Anglo-Russian diplomatic tensions escalated. were intensifying.
Chelsea said the £1.75billion pledged will be used to fund investment in Stamford Bridge, the academy and the women’s team, which can win their league title on Sunday.
Boehly is a co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers MLB franchise and he also owns minority stakes in the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers and the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks.
The challenge will be to maintain the expectation of regular trophies produced as part of Chelsea’s costly transformation following the takeover of Abramovich, with 21 collected in 19 years.
Chelsea had only won the league title once – in 1955 – when Abramovich bought the club in 2003. Aided by a number of expensive signings, the club won the Premier League title two years later and has added four more since then, most recently in 2017.
There is increased competition from wealthy owners to buy and retain players in England alone. Manchester City have benefited from investments from Abu Dhabi since 2008 and the Saudi sovereign wealth fund bought Newcastle last year.
No details were provided on the future day-to-day management of Chelsea, who were the first Premier League club to benefit from a mega-wealthy foreign investor in 2003.
Boehly, who studied at the London School of Economics, co-founded investment firm Eldridge Industries in 2015 and serves as its chairman and chief executive. The private holding company has investments in more than 70 companies, including in sports, entertainment and media.
Besides the Los Angeles Dodgers, Boehly has minority stakes in the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers, the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks, esports organization Cloud9, and DraftKings, an American fantasy sports betting company.
He is president of Security Benefit, a retirement solutions provider based in Topeka, Kansas, and MRC, an entertainment company that finances and produces film and television programming, including major shows such as the Golden Globes, American Music Awards and the Billboard Music Awards.
Other MRC holdings include Penske Media, which owns Billboard, Rolling Stone, Variety and The Hollywood Reporter.
Prior to co-founding Eldridge, Boehly was chairman of Guggenheim Partners. Walter, who partnered with Boehly to buy Chelsea, is the financial services company’s CEO.
Their first chance to see Chelsea lift a trophy is next Saturday. Liverpool are the opponents of the FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium.