The British government has signed a deal to sell football club Chelsea FC for £4.25 billion, or around $5.3 billion, to a group led by Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly.
The British Premier League side was previously owned by Roman Abramovich, a Russian oligarch sanctioned following the invasion of Ukraine. After Mr Boehly’s consortium struck a deal with Mr Abramovich, the UK government had to approve the deal to ensure it met sanctions restrictions.
Mr Abramovich has previously said he will not receive any proceeds from the sale of the team, which is for charity. Funds from the deal are expected to be paid into an account controlled by the UK government.
A more complicated issue is that Mr Abramovich loaned the club around $1.9 billion through a Jersey-based entity. There were concerns about how Mr Abramovich could cancel the loan, given that he is shut out of the European financial system.
“We are confident that the proceeds of the sale will not benefit Roman Abramovich or other sanctioned individuals,” Britain’s Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries tweeted on Wednesday.
Of the total investment, £2.5 billion will be used to buy Chelsea shares, with this money going to charity. The remaining £1.75billion is intended to be invested in the club, including its stadium and women’s team.
Mr Boehly’s group edged out two other US-led groups, one led by Stephen Pagliuca, co-owner of the Boston Celtics and co-chairman of private equity firm Bain Capital, and the other led by the co-owners and deprived of the Philadelphia 76ers. Equity veterans Josh Harris and David Blitzer.
Mr Abramovich acquired Chelsea in 2003 for around £140million, spending lavishly over the years to attract and develop the best players and reshape the team into a powerhouse. He won the Champions League last year, the most important tournament among European clubs.
Write to Max Colchester at [email protected]
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