WSJ News Exclusive | Boehly-Led Group Said to Have Reached Deal to Buy Chelsea F.C.


For approximately £4.3 billion, the equivalent of $5.2 billion, the team said late Friday, marking a record selling price for a professional sports team.

Chelsea said in a statement that the completion of the deal is expected at the end of this month, assuming the deal has received regulatory approval. It follows a nearly two-month auction process that attracted one of the US bidders to acquire the marquee sports brand.

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier on Friday that a deal had been reached. Boehly Group, which also includes US-based investment firm Clearlake Capital, beat out two other US-led groups for the right to negotiate the final deal.

Chelsea’s sale is a high-profile example of a financial reshuffle of Russian money war in ukraine,

Mr Abramovich has owned Chelsea for nearly 20 years, spending heavily on players and absorbing team losses worth more than $1 billion to turn the English Premier League club into a consistent performance competing for the title . It won last year’s Champions League, the top tournament among European clubs.

But in March, the Russian oligarch, under pressure from sanctions imposed by the UK because of its ties with the Kremlin, put the team up for sale. UK government officials have followed the process closely to ensure that the proceeds of the sale do not benefit Mr. Abramovich.

Of the total investment, £2.5 billion will be used to buy shares in Chelsea and that money will be distributed to charity. The remaining £1.75 billion has been earmarked for investment in the club, which includes its stadium and women’s team.

Todd Boehley runs the holding company Aldridge Industries.



visual:

Patrick T. Fallon/Agence France-Press/Getty Images

At more than £4 billion, the price tag will surpass Major League Baseball’s $2.4 billion acquisition of the New York Mets by the billionaire hedge-fund manager in 2020.

Steven A. cohen

The highest ever paid for a professional sports team, according to DeLogic’s data on publicly announced transactions.

Chelsea, however, cannot hold that title for long as sales to the Denver Broncos of the National Football League are expected to be even higher.

As the Journal reports, Mr Boehly, the former chairman of the financial firm Guggenheim Partners LLC, which now runs the holding company Aldridge Industries, offered to buy Chelsea in 2019 but after Mr Abramovich’s value dropped to below $3 billion. They were refused.

In 2012, he was part of the ownership group that bought the Dodgers for a record $2.15 billion.

The Chelsea deal underscores the growing popularity of the Premier League among American audiences. NBCUniversal, is owned by

Comcast Corporation

, last year agreed to pay around $2.7 billion to extend its Premier League broadcasting rights for six years. That’s close to triple the $1 billion value of the broadcaster’s current six-year deal, which expires soon.

With the Boehly Group deal, US investors will control more English Premier League clubs than UK owners, cementing its position as a dominant force in the league. These include Fenway Sports Group, owner of the Boston Red Sox, owner of Liverpool FC; The Glaser family, based in Florida, is a controlling shareholder of Manchester United FC; Arsenal FC, who own the Los Angeles Rams

Stan Kroenke

master; and Aston Villa FC, which is controlled by the co-founders of Fortress Investments

wes edens

with the Egyptian billionaire

Naseef Sawiris.

A rival group was headed in the race for Chelsea

Stephen Pagluka,

co-owner of the Boston Celtics and co-chairman of private-equity firm Bain Capital; The other was led by Philadelphia 76ers co-owners and private-equity veterans.

josh harris

And

David Blitzer.

Write Cara Lombardo [email protected] and ben dummet [email protected]

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