Chelsea has reached an agreement to sell the club for £4.25 billion ($5.2 billion) to a company led by Todd Boehly, co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers sports team.
Before owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned for his alleged ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin following the invasion of Ukraine, the club was placed up for sale.
Chelsea’s new owners will pay £2.5 billion for the club’s shares, according to a statement. The money will be placed in a frozen bank account and donated to charity.
Boehly is the consortium’s leader, but Clearlake Capital, a California-based private equity firm, would own the bulk of Chelsea’s shares. Other investors include Mark Walter, a co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Hansjoerg Wyss, a Swiss millionaire.
Chelsea indicated in a statement that the deal would be completed in late May. The English football authorities and the UK government must both approve the takeover.
Chelsea is operating under a special government licence that expires on May 31, but Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries stated last month that the team was on “borrowed time” to complete the sale.
Only a bidder who passes the Premier League’s owners and directors test can sign off on a transaction.
According to Forbes, Boehly, an American investor and businessman, is worth $4.5 billion (£3.6 billion).
He owns a share in the legendary LA Lakers NBA franchise and is a part-owner of the Dodgers, a US baseball team, and the Los Angeles Sparks, a US women’s basketball team.
His group also comprises Barbara Charone, an American public relations specialist; Jonathan Goldstein, a British businessman; and Daniel Finkelstein, a British journalist.
Other consortiums in the running to buy Chelsea included Sir Martin Broughton and Stephen Pagliuca, co-owner of the Boston Celtics, but they were advised in late April that their bids were rejected.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe, the biggest shareholder of chemical company Ineos, made a late proposal, but it arrived on April 29, many weeks after the official deadline of March 18.
On Thursday, Abramovich stated that he has not requested repayment of his £1.5 billion loans to Chelsea when the club is sold.