Chelsea confirmed on Saturday that a consortium led by Todd Boehle, one of the owners of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball club, had won the battle to buy the London club in a 4.25 billion pound ($5.2 billion) deal.
The owner of the Russian club Roman Abramovich had put the club up for sale in early March, just days before the sanctions imposed by the British government against the backdrop of the Russian attack on Ukraine.
After a long bidding process involving several groups, Boehle and his co-investors were chosen by the Rhein Group, the New York bank to oversee the sale.
The Bohli Group includes fellow Dodgers franchisee Mark Walter, Swiss billionaire Hansorg Weiss and US investment firm Clearlake Capital.
They said in a statement: “Chelsea Football Club confirms the agreement of terms for a new owner group led by Todd Boehle, Clearlake Capital, Mark Walter and Hansjoerg Weiss, for the acquisition of the club.”
And they continued: Of the total investment, 2.5 billion pounds will be allocated to purchase the club’s shares, and these proceeds will be deposited in a frozen bank account in Britain, with the intention of donating 100% to charitable work, according to what Roman Abramovich confirmed.
He added, “The approval of the British government will be required to transfer the proceeds from the blocked bank account.”
In addition, the new owners will commit to investing an additional 1.75 billion “in the interest of the club”.
The value of the deal broke the previous record for the sale of a sports team, which amounted to $2.4 billion, to the New York Mets baseball club in 2020.
The Stamford Bridge stadium in west London, with a capacity of 42,000, needs a major redevelopment, commensurate with its size and the value of income enjoyed by its rivals in the English Premier League.
But Boehle has a proven track record of improving both the field and sporting results with the Dodgers. Due to a significant investment in players, the Dodgers have reached the playoffs in Major League Baseball in the past nine seasons and won the title in 2020 after a 32-year wait.
The Bohli consortium still needs to satisfy the test of owners and managers of Premier League clubs, but Chelsea said it expects to complete the sale before the end of the month.
Bohli is expected to attend Chelsea’s match with Wolverhampton on Saturday at Stamford Bridge.
The Chelsea Fans League welcomed the announcement of the deal and said in a statement: “We will continue to have close discussions with potential owners. We are optimistic about the future of Chelsea.” We hope to finish the sale quickly.
Chelsea has been forced to work under a special license from the British government, since the imposition of sanctions on Abramovich, who bought the club in 2003 for 140 million pounds, and made great domestic and continental achievements with him.
There were concerns about Chelsea’s future if the sale was not completed before the license expired on May 31, and club ministers warned of the “loan time”.
Under the terms of the license, the Blue Club was not able to sign new players or renew its players’ contracts.
The sale of the European Champions League title holders brings down the curtain on 19 years of unprecedented success for Chelsea in the 55-year-old Abramovich state, which saw him crown the English Premier League title five times and the European Champions League twice (2012 and 2021).
Despite his athletic resilience after the sanctions imposed on Abramovich, the results of German coach Thomas Tuchel’s squad recently declined. He suffered a painful exclusion from the Champions League quarter-final against Real Madrid, but he may guarantee a qualified position to the continental competition if he is among the top four, knowing that he is currently ranked third.
He can also add the 20th title under Abramovich, if he beats Liverpool in the cup final next week.