The United Kingdom government has approved a plan to sell Chelsea FC to a group led by Los Angeles Dodgers part-owner Todd Boehly for £4.25 billion (about $5.3 billion).
Roman Abramovich, a Russian businessman who was sanctioned after the invasion of Ukraine, previously owned the Premier League team in the United Kingdom. The U.K. government signed off on Mr. Boehly’s consortium’s deal with Mr. Abramovich to ensure it complied with sanctions restrictions.
“The members of the Consortium purchasing the club are affiliates of the Clearlake Capital Group, L.P., Todd Boehly, Hansjorg Wyss and Mark Walter. Chelsea FC will now work with the relevant Governments to secure the necessary licences to complete the takeover,” said the Premier League board in a statement. The news also confirmed on the league’s Twitter account.
Just before the government sanctioned him for his ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Abramovich put the club up for sale early March. Chelsea would be owing him an amount pilling up to $2 billion after nearly 20 years at Stamford Bridge.
Through a Jersey-based corporation, Mr. Abramovich had lent the team £1.6 billion. However, he would not be demanding a repayment of the loan according to him, but instead, his earnings from the sale will be donated to a nonprofit that will aid Ukrainian war victims.
This was confirmed by the two-part tweet posted by Nadine Dorries, UK Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). She tweeted in part, “we are satisfied the proceeds of the sale will not benefit Roman Abramovich or other sanctioned individuals.”
In an official statement released by Chelsea FC, “of the total investment being made, £2.5bn will be applied to purchase the shares in the Club and such proceeds will be deposited into a frozen UK bank account,” to be released at the consent of the UK government.
However, the potential new owners according to the source will also invest the remaining £1.75 billion in the Club’s welfare. This includes money for the Chelsea Foundation as well as investments at Stamford Bridge, the Academy, the Women’s Team, and Kingsmeadow.
A timeline of the bid
24 February: Russia invades Ukraine
26 February: Roman Abramovich gives “stewardship and care” of club to charitable foundation
2 March: The Chelsea owner says he plans to sell the club
10 March: The UK government sanctions Abramovich
5 May: Abramovich denies he has requested a £1.5bn loan he made to Chelsea is repaid
7 May: Todd Boehly agrees a £4.25bn deal for the club
16 May: Government insider says the deal is close to collapse
24 May: Premier League approves takeover
25 May: Government approves takeover