After Roman Abramich accepted the terms of the UK government’s sale, the £4.25bn takeover of the Chelsea football team has been completed. This ends a turbulent period that had raised concerns about the club’s future.
Nadine Dorrie (sports and culture minister) said that the UK government issued Tuesday night a license which allows the sale of Chelsea.
After a successful bid by Todd Boehly (part-owner of the LA Dodgers baseball team), Stamford Bridge can now officially open to a new era. After ensuring that no proceeds went to Abramovich (who was under sanctions following the Russian invasion of Ukraine), the government issued a license for the sale.
A two-step sale process will be followed. £2.5bn will go into an account until the government is satisfied that the funds will go towards a charity for the victims of the war in Ukraine. Boehly’s group has pledged to invest another £1.75bn into the club. Abramovich has signed legally binding guarantees, allowing the £1.6bn loan to Chelsea into a government-controlled account.
The government requested assurances that the charity would not be controlled by Abramovich. Mike Penrose, an ex-Unicef UK executive director has been asked to lead the foundation.
After purchasing Chelsea in 2003, Abramovich transformed the face of English football. A new era of success was ushered in by the Russian oligarch. Under Abramovich’s leadership, Chelsea won 21 trophies, including five Premier League titles and two Champions Leagues.
Abramovich’s ownership was made untenable by the war in Ukraine. At the beginning of March, the 55-year-old placed Chelsea up for auction and put Raine, a US bank, in charge.
Boehly’s team won the race. The American’s other investors included the Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wiss, Jonathan Goldstein (British property developer) and Clearlake Capital (US investment firm). Clearlake Capital will take a majority of Chelsea’s shares, but Boehly will remain the controlling shareholder. Non-executive directors are Barbara Charone, celebrity publicist and Daniel Finkelstein, a Conservative peer and Times columnist.
After all potential board members had passed the directors’ and owners’ tests, the Premier League approved Tuesday’s sale.
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