Roman Abramovich’s 19-year ownership of the Premier League side is drawing to a close.
Here, the PA news agency looks at the state of play at Stamford Bridge.
Boehly and his consortium partners have battled past a host of suitors to strike a deal to buy Chelsea for the highest price ever paid for a sports club. Former British Airways chairman Sir Martin Broughton and Boston Celtics co-owner Steve Pagliuca had joined Boehly in the final three bidding to buy the Blues. Boehly and his partners brokered a deal with New York merchant bank the Raine Group, handling the sale on Chelsea’s behalf. Chelsea eventually announced the agreement in the early hours of Saturday.
Boehly and his partners must pass the Premier League’s owners’ and directors’ tests, before the UK Government will then sign off the sale by granting a new licence for the deal to be completed.
Abramovich put Chelsea up for sale on March 2, amid Russia’s continued invasion of Ukraine. The 55-year-old was then sanctioned by the UK Government on March 10, with Downing Street claiming to have proven his links to Russia’s president Vladimir Putin. Abramovich’s ownership was left untenable, with the Russian-Israeli billionaire selling Chelsea after 19 years at the Stamford Bridge helm.
Abramovich cannot profit from the sale under the terms of his sanctions, but the Chelsea owner has long since pledged to donate all proceeds to a charitable foundation to aid victims of the war in Ukraine. The Government must agree to Abramovich’s plans to set up an independently run charitable foundation to handle the distribution of those funds. Abramovich wants to write off his £1.5bn loan to Chelsea, but the sanctions currently block such a move. Chelsea and the Government expect to find a resolution, with the Boehly sale agreement paving the way for the deal to be completed.
Clearlake Capital will take the majority shareholding, with co-founder Behdad Eghbali taking the lead on all things Chelsea from the California-based investment firm. Boehly’s LA Dodgers co-owner Mark Walter adds yet more sports administration expertise, while Swiss magnate Hansjorg Wyss is also involved.
Chelsea and the Raine Group could turn to one of the previous bidders should any problems arise with Boehly’s offer. Though this now seems highly unlikely, Broughton’s bid would be expected to be progressed first should Boehly hit any trouble. Ineos chief Sir Jim Ratcliffe appears further removed from the picture. Britain’s richest man tabled a last-ditch offer for the Blues last week, but did so outside of the official sale process. Raine rejected the bid out of hand, but despite that the 69-year-old had refused to admit defeat on his candidacy.