Sale of Chelsea FC: Boehly-led group in exclusive talks to finalize £4bn deal | business news

A California private equity firm has come one step closer to becoming the new majority owner of Chelsea Football Club after securing a period of exclusivity to complete a deal.

A group led by LA Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly on Friday overcame opposition from rival syndicates to gain preferred bidder status in the fight to replace Roman Abramovich as owner of the Blues.

In Mr. Boehly’s bid, voting rights would be split equally between him and Clearlake Capital, a California private equity firm.

Clearlake, which has no direct ownership of any major sports facilities, would own the majority stake in Chelsea, Sky News revealed last week.

The group is advised by Goldman Sachs and Robey Warshaw, where former Chancellor – and Chelsea fan – George Osborne now works as a partner.

Sources said Mr Boehly’s group’s exclusivity period, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, would last several days.

However, on another day of behind-the-scenes drama at Stamford Bridge, British petrochemical tycoon Sir Jim Ratcliffe said he had offered £4.25billion to buy Chelsea – despite only publicly saying the club this year be overpriced.

Sir Jim’s entry into the race to buy Chelsea is believed to have come too late, although there is a possibility he could buy Chelsea if the Boehly-led bid cannot be completed.

Mr Boehly’s group are understood to have agreed to a request from Mr Abramovich – reported by Sky News on Thursday – that their offer be increased by £500million to increase cash donations to a foundation working in aid of victims of the war in Ukraine is established.

Todd Boehly. Image: AP

A spokesman for Mr Boehly’s bid declined to comment.

It was unclear on Friday whether the funding structure of Mr Boehly’s bid at Clearlake had changed as a result of the request for the additional £500m.

Coach Thomas Tuchel had already said this week that the sanctions against the club owner were the fault of German central defender Antonio Rüdiger, who decided to leave in the summer.

Earlier this week, the three remaining bidders reiterated their commitment that they would not sell a majority stake in Chelsea for at least a decade.

That proposal, which is considered unprecedented at a football club auction, was coupled with a request for a minimum further investment of £1billion in its stadium, academy and women’s team.

The demands underscore the unusual nature of Chelsea’s sale process at a time when ownership of English football clubs is facing unprecedented scrutiny and government intervention.

On Monday, ministers released their response to former Sport Secretary Tracey Crouch’s report on the governance of football, paving the way for the establishment of a new independent regulator of sport.

Mr Abramovich has owned Chelsea since 2003 and has propelled the club into one of the top sides in Europe, with 19 major trophies won under him.

The two defeated syndicates were led by Boston Celtics shareholder Steve Pagliuca and NBA chairman and Toronto Maple Leafs owner Larry Tanenbaum; and Sir Martin Broughton, the former chairman of British Airways and Liverpool FC, who would have taken a majority stake in Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment – owner of a stake in Premier League club Crystal Palace and a number of US sports teams.

The past eight weeks have witnessed a bidding frenzy unprecedented in English football, with billionaire financiers, media magnates and sports team owners from multiple continents banding together to seize control of the Blues.

Raine Group, which is handling the sale process, declined to comment.

Sale of Chelsea FC: Boehly-led group in exclusive talks to finalize £4bn deal | business news

Source link Sale of Chelsea FC: Boehly-led group in exclusive talks to finalize £4bn deal | business news

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