Chelsea takeover: Todd Boehly completes £4.25bn takeover at end of Roman Abramovich era


Boehly’s simple refusal to accept distraction has proved crucial to the Connecticut billionaire’s successful takeover of Chelsea.

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The Todd Boehly-led consortium has completed a £4.25bn takeover of Chelsea, ending Roman Abramovich’s 19-year ownership of the club.

After months of negotiations, the deal was finally approved on Wednesday morning when the government received legal guarantees that Roman Abramovich – whose British assets have been frozen – would not benefit from the sale.

The proceeds of the sale will be frozen in a UK bank account until further assurances are given to the government that the money will be used exclusively to support humanitarian causes in Ukraine.

Russian-Israeli billionaire Abramovich put Chelsea, which he bought in 2003, up for sale on March 2, a week after Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

The acquisition ends his 19-year ownership of the club and makes Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Boehly the controlling owner of Chelsea, although California investment firm Clearlake Capital takes over the majority stake. The new owners are reportedly planning to invest £1.75bn in the club, bringing the total acquisition value to £4.25bn.

Since Abramovich was sanctioned, Chelsea have not been able to sell or sign players or offer new contracts, but now that the takeover is complete those restrictions will be lifted.

How Boehly emerged as a leading bidder

Boehly’s simple refusal to accept distraction has proved crucial to the Connecticut billionaire’s successful takeover of Chelsea.

Some 85 days after Abramovich officially put the Blues up for sale, the Boehly consortium has finally fended off any challengers to take the helm of Stamford Bridge.

Where rival bidders were either forced to put out fires or found themselves drifting off course, Boehly never let his steel focus slacken.

The laser targeting of both Eldridge Industries co-founder Boehly and Clearlake Capital co-founder Behdad Eghbali formed the foundation of the winning consortium.

Boehly and Eghbali enjoy a solid friendship and a close working relationship, and both men are characterized as humble and low-key – contrary to their rising status in financial circles.

That calm and affable yet focused and professional approach won the favor of those who executed the Chelsea sale, through an often fraught and intense process.

Boehly and Eghbali were able to prove the robustness of their consortium to both the Chelsea chiefs and the top executives of Raine Group, the New York commercial bank that oversees the sale.

California investment giants Clearlake will now take over the majority stake in Chelsea, even if Boehly becomes the controlling owner.

Only the strength of the relationship between Boehly and both Eghbali and Clearlake has allowed the set-up to get the green light from the sellers.

Boehly conducted a pivotal due diligence on a Chelsea offer in 2019, yielding a significant advantage amid a hugely accelerated sale process.

The sale of Chelsea is expected to take about nine months under normal time pressure. Instead, the Blues and Raine rushed through a purchase agreement in less than 10 weeks, with the entire sale, including government ratification, completed in just three months.

Raine and Chelsea deserve genuine credit for bringing a deal of such complexity and magnitude so quickly, with executives understanding that they worked more than 20 hours a day throughout the process.

How the takeover went…

Abramovich officially put Chelsea up for sale on March 2, amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The 55-year-old was subsequently sanctioned by the British government on March 10, with Downing Street claiming to have proven his ties to Vladimir Putin.

From profile hunters like Turkish businessman Muhsin Bayrak to more credible figures like British real estate mogul Nick Candy and more, Chelsea’s sale had an unprecedented public edge.

Outside the court of public opinion, generated by government control, the tell-tale negotiations ultimately remained behind closed doors.

In the end, four bidders were referred to a final shortlist: Boehly, the Ricketts family who own the Chicago Cubs, Sir Martin Broughton and Boston Celtics co-owner Steve Pagliuca.

The Ricketts-led bid was plagued with image problems from the start, with historic leaked emails from family patriarch Joe Ricketts labeling Muslims as “my enemy” and raising major concerns.

However, bid leaders Tom and Laura Ricketts were able to prove their commitment to diversity and inclusion, and with Ken Griffin’s large investment, the offer started to look appealing.

However, just as the other shortlisted bidders started to get annoyed by the Ricketts-led entry, the consortium withdrew.

That news of April 15 caused a sigh of relief over the Easter weekend among the other bidders and paved the way for Boehly’s success.

Raine’s minds were then ready to confirm Boehly as the preferred bidder on Friday, April 29, when Britain’s richest man threw a spanner in the works at the last minute.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe submitted an offer outside the formal procedure in hopes of overwhelming the other competing consortia.

The entry was taken seriously, but after several days of further frenzied activity, Boehly was finally given preferred bidder status.

Closing the deal in the early hours of Saturday, May 7, meant that Chelsea’s Abramovich era would soon be over.

Now, after 19 years, 21 men’s trophies and a club transformed as English football changed forever, it is no longer owned by Russian-Israeli tycoon Blues.

Will Boehly become a regular at Stamford Bridge?

In recent weeks, Boehly has been able to attend matches at Stamford Bridge, both in the executive box and in the stands between supporters.

The casually dressed and laid-back new Blues supremo was apparently surprised by the regularity of supporter recognition, as opposed to his lower profile at Dodgers games in the US.

The new Chelsea chief’s financial expertise sparks a natural fascination with the impact of data in sport. Chelsea can expect Boehly to seek every possible analytical advantage, especially when it comes to recruiting.

Some top financial football analysts believe leading Premier League clubs could be worth more than £10bn within 10 years, and such projections have made Boehly and his consortium happy with the value of their record purchase of sports franchises.

Roman’s Farewell Message: It’s been an honor of a lifetime

Roman Abramovich wrote a farewell message to Chelsea fans on Saturday after 19 years at the club.

His statement read: “It has been nearly three months since I announced my intention to sell Chelsea FC. During this time, the team has worked hard to find the right Chelsea FC custodian who would be best positioned to support the club successfully. to his next chapter.

“Owning this club comes with a lot of responsibility. Ever since I came to Chelsea almost twenty years ago, I have seen first hand what this club can achieve. My goal has been to make sure that the next owner has a mentality that will enable success for the men’s and women’s teams, as well as the will and drive to continue developing other important aspects of the club such as the Academy and the vital work of Chelsea Foundation.

“I am pleased that this quest has now come to a successful conclusion. As I hand over Chelsea to the new managers, I wish them the best of luck, both on and off the pitch.

“It has been an honor of my life to be a part of this club – I want to thank all the players, staff and of course fans of the club for these incredible years.

“I am proud that as a result of our joint successes, millions of people will now benefit from the new charitable foundation being established. This is the legacy we have created together.”

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