LONDON (AP) — Chelsea is being sold to a consortium fronted by American sports investor Todd Boehly, ending 19 years of ownership and lavish investment by Roman Abramovich until the Russian oligarch was sanctioned and forced to offload the Premier League club.
The deal is worth 4.25 billion pounds ($5.24 billion).
“Chelsea Football Club can confirm that terms have been agreed for a new ownership group, led by Todd Boehly, Clearlake Capital, Mark Walter and Hansjorg Wyss, to acquire the club,” a Chelsea statement said early Saturday.
Boehly, Clearlake Capital, Mark Walter and Hansjorg Wyss must now wait for Premier League and U.K. government approval before rubber-stamping the takeover. The deal is expected to be completed by late May.
“Of the total investment being made, £2.5 billion ($3.084 billion) 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% to charitable causes as confirmed by Roman Abramovich,“ the Chelsea statement said.
“In addition the proposed new owners will commit £1.75 billion ($2.159 billion) in further investment for the benefit of the club. This includes investments in Stamford Bridge, the academy, the women’s team and Kingsmeadow and continued funding for the Chelsea Foundation."
Britain's Press Association said Eldridge Industries chief executive Boehly was in London on Friday night and was expected to attend Chelsea’s Premier League match with Wolves at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
Boehly is part owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers MLB franchise and he also has minority stakes in the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers and WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks.
The challenge will be maintaining the expectation of regular trophies produced under the expensive transformation of Chelsea following Abramovich's buyout, which led to a 50-year English title drought ending.
Chelsea won 21 trophies in the 19 years of Abramovich’s ownership which is ending abruptly after his assets were frozen as part of British government sanctions as part of a crackdown on wealthy Russians with ties to President Vladimir Putin following the invasion in Ukraine in February.
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Rob Harris, The Associated Press