Todd Boehly has reportedly signed the purchase agreement to buy Chelsea – a huge step in ending Roman Abramovich’s 19-year ownership of the Premier League club.
The US businessman and his consortium are believed to have agreed a deal worth up to £4billion with Abramovich, and they are now seeking approval from the UK government and the Premier League. A deal is expected to be completed before the end of the month.
Chelsea were put up for sale by Abramovich just days before the Russian oligarch was sanctioned by the UK government in March for allegedly having ties with Vladimir Putin, something he denies. Putin is currently waging a bloody and unprovoked war in neighbouring Ukraine.
The Blues are currently operating under a special license, which is due to expire on May 31. The UK government will need to issue a new license if and when Boehly’s takeover is approved. Boris Johnson and his colleagues are not expected to stand in the consortium’s way.
Boehly’s consortium will also need to pass the Premier League’s owners’ and director’s test. The organisation are expected to approve the proposed takeover.
As reported by The Telegraph, the signing of the purchasing agreement is seen as the biggest step of the process to date. It is a commitment that transfers the shares of the seller to the buyer – setting a date of completion.
It’s believed Boehly – a co-owner of baseball team LA Dodgers – and his colleagues signed the deal on Friday, a week after they were named as the preferred bidder by the Raine Group – the investment bank who are brokering the deal on Abramovich’s behalf.
Boehly’s consortium includes fellow businessmen Hansjorg Wyss, Mark Walker and Jonathan Goldstein. They’ve signed a series of “anti-Glazer” clauses – stopping them from paying dividends or management fees, as well as prohibiting the sale of any shares, until 2032. The deal is also thought to have imposed strict limits on the level of debt they can take on.
Boehly appears to have beaten late competition from British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe, who tabled a last-minute offer for Chelsea through a consortium.