Chelsea Sale Complete as Roman Abramovich Says Goodbye

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The Chelsea sale is complete.

The group led by Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital will pay about $3.16 billion (£2.5 billion) for the team, and commit to spending another $2.21 billion (£1.75 billion) to help it remain competitive. The final government approvals came this week, officially ending one of the fastest, most competitive and most expensive franchise sales in global sports history.

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In a statement on the team’s website, former owner Roman Abramovich said that he “worked hard” over the past few months to find a buyer that would be willing to maintain Chelsea’s position in global soccer. He added that millions of people will benefit from the charitable foundation that will receive some of the proceeds, telling Chelsea fans that it is “the legacy which we have created together.”

“I am pleased this search has now come to a successful conclusion,” he said. “As I hand over Chelsea to its new custodians, I would like to wish them the best of success, both on and off the pitch.”

Abramovich decided to sell the team in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, saying he would forgive the roughly $1.9 billion (£1.5 billion) in debt that he’d personally lent the team over his ownership and donate all “net proceeds” from the sale to a foundation benefitting victims of the war. The sale grew more complicated shortly afterwards, when the U.K. government froze many of his assets, allowing the team to continue operating via a special license.

The new owners are led by Boehly, an American with an extensive track record of investing in sports and entertainment. He’s a part owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Lakers, and has invested in dozens of companies, such as DraftKings, Sportradar and Vivid Seats. (Boehly’s MRC and Sportico parent Penske Media Company operate a publishing joint venture and strategic content partnership.)

The bulk of the money for the bid was put up by California-based Clearlake Capital. Others in the group include Swiss billionaire Hansjörg Wyss, London real estate magnate Jonathan Goldstein and Guggenheim Partners CEO Mark Walter, who is a partner alongside Boehly in the Lakers and Dodgers.

Abramovich paid about $230 million (£140 million) for the London club back in 2003. The $3.16 billion sale price is among the highest ever paid for a sports franchise. Joe Tsai paid $3.3 billion for the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets and the rights to operate the Barclays Center in a deal completed in 2019.

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