LA Dodgers’ boss Todd Boehly in £4bn Chelsea buyout

Roman Abramovich’s position over the sale of Chelsea remains ‘unchanged’

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Fans arriving at Stamford Bridge yesterday for their team’s Premier League clash with Wolves heard the news that the American tycoon and his partners had beaten off a host of rivals for the club, including former British Airways chairman Sir Martin Broughton and Boston Celtics co-owner Steve Pagliuca. There was also a last-gasp £4billion offer from British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe.

While the prospect of stability will be welcome, the news received a muted response from some fans.

Jeff Oakley, a Chelsea fan since 1969, hoped the new owners would continue to plough money into the club, but said: “At the end of the day they’re not in here because they love the club, they’re in here because they love the money.”

Season ticket-holder Martin Farrier would have preferred a British owner, and added: “That’s because of the way the Americans appear to have run Man Utd into the ground – I would hate that to happen here.”

Austrian Ferdinand Weiss, 22, said: “You have to pick oil money, or some billionaire from the US. There is no saviour out there.”

The deal dwarfs the £1.15billion paid for rivals Man Utd by controversial US owner Malcolm Glazer and is the highest price ever paid for a sports club.

The Blues had been put up for sale before owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned for his alleged links to Russian President Vladimir Putin following the invasion of Ukraine. 

Abramovich, 55, cleared the way for a deal to go ahead after he reiterated he did not want his £1.6billion loan repaid.

Mr Boehly, Clearlake Capital, Mark Walter, Hansjörg Wyss and British property developer Jonathan

Goldstein must wait for Premier League and government approval before rubber-stamping the sale, expected before the end of the month. The club is operating under a special licence following sanctions which expire on May 31, allowing more than three weeks for the sale to be completed.

The Premier League must ensure the consortium’s members pass its owners’ and directors’ test.

A Chelsea statement said the new owners will pay £2.5billion, with the proceeds donated to charity, and make £1.75billion of investments.

It said: “Of the total investment, £2.5billion will be applied to purchase the shares in the club, and such proceeds will be deposited into a frozen UK bank account with the intention to donate 100 per cent to charitable causes.”

Mr Boehly, 46, first attempted to buy Chelsea for £2.4billion in 2019 but his offer was rejected.

He owns 20 percent of seven-time baseball World Series champions the LA Dodgers and is also a part-owner of women’s basketball outfit the Los Angeles Sparks.

Together with Mark Walter, he also has a 27 percent stake in basketball franchise the Los Angeles Lakers.

He is the chief executive of Eldridge Industries, a private holding company that invests in multiple industries, as well as owning Bruce Springsteen’s song rights and betting firm DraftKings.

Mr Walter, 61, is the chief executive of Guggenheim Partners, a privately held global financial services firm with £250billion in assets under management.

Clearlake Capital is a Californian private equity firm with £58billion of assets under management. It will own a majority of Chelsea shares.

Record deal will lift Blues

Nothing in football is over until the final whistle as Real Madrid reminded us with that last-gasp Champions League victory over Manchester City.

However, while the same rule applies to business off the pitch, the £4.25billion purchase of Chelsea by Todd Boehly’s American consortium is as good as done and dusted.

It has been agreed and signed off by Roman Abramovich. Now the world-record deal requires final seals of approval from the Government and Premier League.

Both boxes should be ticked before the end of the month.

All of which means, from head coach Thomas Tuchel to the 1,000-plus staff to the massive global fan base, everyone tied to Stamford Bridge is breathing a little easier.

Fears the most successful English outfit this century could cease to exist following the sanctioning of Abramovich have proved unfounded.

There are still nagging doubts over 60 percent of the price paid coming from investment funds.

Then there is the question of what happens to the money deposited into a UK frozen bank account.

Yet the reality is Boehly and his consortium cannot act as they please once they take control.

The terms agreed prevent them selling the club until 2032. And there will be no dividends paid during that period.

It is far from perfect and some supporters will be sad to see Abramovich go.

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