The Premier League has announced that its board has approved the £ 4.25bn takeover of Chelsea by Todd Boehly’s consortium after all prospective board members passed its owners ‘and directors’ test.
Completion of the club’s purchase from Roman Abramovich must still be cleared by the UK government, which has to issue a sale license. It wants to be satisfied that none of the proceeds will go to Abramovich, who was hit with sanctions after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and to get guarantees regarding his £ 1.6bn loan to the club.
There is growing confidence that Abramovich will agree to legally binding guarantees that would allow the money to be placed in a frozen account under government control. Chelsea’s special operating license expires on 31 May and it looks increasingly likely the sale will be formalized this week.
The league said in a statement: “The Premier League board has today approved the proposed takeover of Chelsea Football Club by the Todd Boehly / Clearlake consortium. The purchase remains subject to the government issuing the required sale license and the satisfactory completion of the final stages of the transaction.
“The board has applied the Premier League’s owners ‘and directors’ test to all prospective directors, and undertaken the necessary due diligence.
“The members of the consortium purchasing the club are affiliates of the Clearlake Capital Group, LP, Todd Boehly, Hansjörg Wyss and Mark Walter. Chelsea FC will now work with the relevant governments to secure the necessary licenses to complete the takeover. ”
Later on Tuesday, a government source told PA Media they “now believe everyone will be ready to issue the necessary licenses. The last remaining hurdle boils down to a number of final technical details that are being discussed with the club. ” The government had reportedly hoped to confirm the takeover on Tuesday night, but expect it to be completed in the coming days.
Boehly and Walter are part-owners of baseball’s LA Dodgers and Wyss is a Swiss businessman. The US investment firm Clearlake Capital is taking a majority stake in Chelsea, although Boehly will be the controlling owner.
The government has proposed a two-stage process in which the money from the sale would go into an escrow account, where it would be held until it is satisfied the funds will go to a charity for victims of the war in Ukraine. It is expected the charity will be established after the sale has gone through and assurances have been made that the foundation will be independent of Abramovich. Mike Penrose, the former Unicef UK executive director, has been asked to run the charity.