London: Chelsea confirmed today that a consortium led by LA Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly has won the battle to buy the Premier League club in a £4.25 billion ($5.2 billion) deal.
Owner Roman Abramovich put Chelsea on the market in early March, just days before he was sanctioned by the British government following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
After a lengthy bidding process involving several groups, Boehly and his fellow investors were picked by Raine Group, the New York bank overseeing the sale.
Boehly’s consortium includes a fellow co-owner of the Dodgers baseball franchise, Mark Walter, Swiss billionaire Hansjoerg Wyss and US investment firm Clearlake Capital.
“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,” they said in a statement.
“Of the total investment being made, £2.5 billion 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 percent 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 new owners will commit £1.75 billion in further investment “for the benefit of the club”, Chelsea said.
The total value of the deal smashes the previous record for the sale of a sports team - $2.4 billion for the New York Mets baseball franchise in 2020.
Chelsea’s 42,000-capacity Stamford Bridge home is in need of major redevelopment to match the stadium size and income streams enjoyed by their rivals.
But Boehly has a track record of delivering both stadium improvement and sporting success with the Dodgers.
Thanks to heavy investment in players, the Dodgers have made the MLB (Major League Baseball) playoffs every season for the past nine years and won their first World Series for 32 years in 2020.
End of the month
Boehly’s consortium still needs to satisfy the Premier League’s owners’ and directors’ test, but Chelsea said they expect the sale to be completed by the end of the month.
Boehly is expected to attend the Premier League clash with Wolves at Stamford Bridge today.
The Chelsea Supporters’ Trust said it welcomed the club’s announcement.
“We will continue to hold close discussions with the prospective owners,” it said in a statement. “We are optimistic about the future of #CFC. We hope that the sale is completed swiftly.”