Just as it seemed that Chelsea FC would finally get its new owner after a months-long sales process, a new complication has been introduced: Roman Abramovich may call in his loans.
While Abramovich has not asked for the $2 billion owed to him by the club, finalist bidders were made aware that he is reversing course on a previous decision and wants to be repaid as part of the sale.
- The U.K. government froze Abramovich’s assets, including Chelsea, after sanctioning him for his connections to Vladimir Putin.
- The U.K. has worked to ensure that the oligarch does not profit from the sale of the club.
The group led by Los Angeles Dodgers, Lakers, and Sparks co-owner Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital is in exclusive negotiations for the club. Clearlake would own a majority stake, while Boehly would have operational control.
Next in Line
Should Boehly’s group fail to secure the team, the other two finalists selected by the Raine Group, which is managing the sale, expect to be next under consideration. Those consortia are led by British businessman Sir Martin Broughton and Boston Celtics owner Stephen Pagliuca.
However, Sir Jim Ratcliffe is not giving up hope on his late bid to win the team. Recent reports suggested that Ratcliffe’s $5.3 billion offer was too low to upend the process.
A source close to Abramovich told the Guardian that Ratcliffe’s presence has stalled the Raine Group in confirming reports that Boehly’s group is the preferred bidder.