A consortium led by Todd Boehly, chair and CEO of Eldridge, and Clearlake Capital Group, L.P. completed the £4.25 billion ($5.3 billion) acquisition of soccer team Chelsea Football Club on Monday.
The consortium also includes Hansjörg Wyss, founder of the Wyss Foundation, and Mark Walter, co-founder and CEO of Guggenheim Capital. Walter and Boehly are owners of the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Los Angeles Sparks. The transaction has received all necessary approvals from the U.K. government, the Premier League, and other authorities.
Under the terms of the agreement, Boehly and Clearlake will share joint control and equal governance of the Club. Boehly will serve as chair of the holding company.
Boehly and Clearlake are committed to investing in key areas that will extend and enhance Chelsea’s competitiveness, including the redevelopment of Stamford Bridge, further investment in the Academy, the Women’s Team, and Kingsmeadow stadium, the club said in a statement, adding that the owners would also continue the important work of the Chelsea Foundation, which performs a number of charitable and community activities.
Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Moelis & Company LLC, and Robey Warshaw LLP served as financial advisors to the new ownership group. Latham & Watkins LLP, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, and Sidley Austin LLP served as legal counsel.
“As a result of the transaction, up to £2.5 billion will be donated to provide immediate relief and long-term support to victims of the conflict in Ukraine,” Latham & Watkins LLP said in a statement.
Chelsea FC had been up for sale since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which led to the U.K. government imposing sanctions on Russian oligarchs, including club owner Roman Abramovich.
Boehly said: “We are honored to become the new custodians of Chelsea Football Club. We’re all in – 100% – every minute of every match. Our vision as owners is clear: we want to make the fans proud. Along with our commitment to developing the youth squad and acquiring the best talent, our plan of action is to invest in the club for the long-term and build on Chelsea’s remarkable history of success. I personally want to thank ministers and officials in the British government, and the Premier League, for all their work in making this happen.”
Eldridge owns MRC and Dick Clark Productions, producers of Hollywood’s popular Golden Globes Awards, and Boehly serves as interim CEO of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which operates the awards.
Behdad Eghbali and José E. Feliciano, Clearlake co-founders and managing partners, said: “We are excited to commit the resources to continue Chelsea’s leading role in English and global football [soccer], and as an engine for football talent development. We also want to thank the authorities for all their work throughout the process. As pioneers in sports and media investing, we are thrilled to partner with Todd and the rest of the consortium to meaningfully grow the club as a global platform. Together, we will expand the club’s investment across infrastructure, technology, and sports science to support the incredible Chelsea football and commercial teams – all with the goal of leveraging this growth to fuel even more on-pitch success.”
Chelsea placed third in this year’s Premier League, behind Man City and Liverpool.
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