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A group led by Todd Boehly, co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team, is to acquire Chelsea in a massive 4.25 billion pound (4.97 billion euros) offer, announced the London football club on the night of Friday to Saturday.
Roman Abramovich and Chelsea have found a buyer: A group led by Todd Boehly, co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team, has made a colossal offer of 4.25 billion pounds (4.97 billion euros) for the takeover of the Blues, the largest sum ever spent on a sports club.
“Chelsea Club can confirm that terms have been agreed for a new group of owners, led by Todd Boehly, Clearlake Capital, Mark Walter and Hansjoerg Wyss, to acquire the club,” Chelsea FC said in a statement. short press release published late in the night from Friday 6 to Saturday 7 May.
>> To read: “Roman Abramovich, Russian oligarch and first of the football billionaires”
This is the end of an era that began in 2003 with the arrival at the helm of Roman Abramovich, who had bought the Blues for 140 million pounds. Thanks to the financial manna of the Russian oligarch, close to the Kremlin, Chelsea, until then a second knife of English football, suddenly transformed into a major player on the national and European level, accumulating in particular five titles in the Premier League. and two Champions Leagues (2012, 2021).
In the turmoil after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Russian billionaire, targeted by London sanctions, had put the London club up for sale on March 2, insisting that he would not seek repayment of the loans taken out by the club throughout its 19-year reign and that all proceeds from the operation would go to war victims.
After a long bidding process involving several groups, Todd Boehly and his investor partners were chosen by the New York bank Raine Group, which is overseeing the sale.
“The sale is expected to be finalized at the end of May subject to obtaining all necessary regulatory approvals,” Chelsea said in its statement.
The group of investors is made up, in addition to Todd Boehly, of Mark Walter, co-owner with him of the Dodgers, of the Swiss billionaire Hansjoerg Wyss, founder of the manufacturing company of medical equipment Synthes, and of the American investment company Clearlake Capital. .
“Of the total investment that will be made, 2.5 billion pounds (2.92 billion euros) will be used to buy back the club’s shares and this sum will be deposited in a UK bank account frozen with the intention to donate 100% to charity as validated by Roman Abramovich,” the club said. “The UK government’s green light will be required for these funds to be transferred from the frozen bank account,” he added.
The new owners have also pledged to invest an additional £1.75 billion (€2.04 billion) on behalf of the club, the statement said.
The formalization of the takeover of Chelsea is a breath of fresh air for the English team as the operation began to drag on. Because since their sale on March 2, the Blues have been playing in the Premier League thanks to a special license which prevents them from renewing existing contracts and recruiting players. A license that is due to end on May 31.
After a long series of victories in the wake of the announcement of their next change of owners, Chelsea have struggled sportingly in recent weeks, notably with an elimination against Real Madrid in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, of which they is the title holder.
Third in the Premier League three days before the end of the championship, the club is nevertheless very well on its way to finishing in the top four, which gives access to the C1 next season.