After a period of muddled negotiations, the Blues’ fate has become clearer.
Chelsea have concluded that a Todd Boehly-led group of financial backers is the preferred bidder to take over the club from owner Roman Abramovich, subject to approval from both the Premier League and the United Kingdom government.
Boehly, who co-owns the Los Angeles Dodgers in the United States, is now set to become the Blues’ owner, with voting rights split among various financial backers, and his bid is 66 percent supported by Clearlake Capital, a private value firm.
Nonetheless, the club, which is expected to fetch a world record-breaking fee for a sports team following a bidding war between various parties, could yet see another entity, such as Jim Ratcliffe, win out – though GOAL understands that is unlikely at this stage.
Who is possible Chelsea owner Todd Boehly?
Boehly owns 60% of the $6 billion-valued investment group Eldridge Industries, through which he manages the majority of his investments, with the exception of the Dodgers and Los Angeles Lakers, which are private investments.
Abramovich denied Boehly’s £2.2 billion bid for Chelsea in 2019. He followed that up with an interview in Bloomberg in which he expressed an interest in playing Premier League football.
“Football is the biggest sport in the world,” Boehly insisted. “I can’t believe American football can get to use the word ‘football’ because to me that word should be football. The fact is it is still the best product in the world. It’s 90 minutes so it has a great timeline. The passion that the fans have for the activity and the sport and the teams is unparalleled. So when you start to think about what you’re trying to build with these teams is, you’re really trying to A, win and B, be part of the community.”
One of his stakes is in Fortnite, the wildly popular video game. He is worth an estimated £3.3 billion ($4.4 billion).
What’s happening with Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s bid for Chelsea?
His last-minute £4.25 billion bid (which includes a £1.75 billion investment over ten years and a £2.5 billion donation to a “charitable trust” likely related to the Ukrainian war) came as a surprise late Friday morning. It alters the landscape of the Raine Group process, which is managed in New York.
It is unknown whether the bid will be accepted because the process was designed to narrow the possibilities and it has missed several deadlines.
A statement read: “Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Chairman of INEOS, has made a formal bid for Chelsea FC, for £4.25bn. £2.5bn is committed to the Charitable Trust to support victims of the war, with £1.75bn committed to investment directly into the club over the next 10 years.
“This is a British bid, for a British club.
“We believe that a club is bigger than its owners who are temporary custodians of a great tradition. With responsibility to the fans and the community.
“That is why we are committing to spending £1.75bn over 10 years that will be for the direct benefit of the club.
“We will invest in Stamford Bridge to make it a world-class stadium, befitting of Chelsea FC. This will be organic and on-going so that we will not move away from the home of Chelsea and risk losing the support of loyal fans.
“We will continue to invest in the team to ensure we have a first class squad of the world’s greatest players, coaches and support staff, in the men’s and women’s games.
“And we hope to continue to invest in the academy to provide opportunity for talented youngsters to develop into first class players.
“We believe that London should have a club that reflects the stature of the city. One that is held in the same regard as Real Madrid, Barcelona or Bayern Munich. We intend Chelsea to be that club.
“We are making this investment as fans of the beautiful game – not as a means to turn a profit. We do that with our core businesses. The club is rooted in its community and its fans. And it is our intention to invest in Chelsea FC for that reason.
“No further comment will be made from Sir Jim or INEOS during the bidding process.”