Chelsea FC Selling for $5.26 Billion to Group Led by Vivid Seats’ Boehly
The UK Government has approved the sale of Chelsea Football Club to a group led by Todd Boehly in a deal valued at more than $5 billion. The sale will put the English Premier League team into a portfolio of investments in sports and ticketing for Boehly, who also has stakes in the Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Sparks, and sits on the board of Vivid Seats after his company – Horizon Acquisitions Corp. – merged with the ticket resale marketplace in a transaction that brought it public in the fall of 2021.
Terms of the deal were originally agreed to earlier in May, with the actual club shares selling for £2.5 billion and the new owners agreeing to commit £1.25 billion in further investment to the club. The deal is by far the largest price tag on a sports team transfer ever, more than double the $2.3 billion paid for the Carolina Panthers in 2018. When Roman Abramovich purchased the team in 2003, he paid a sum of approximately $140 million for it.
Chelsea FC was sold due to sanctions against Mr. Abramovich and other Russian oligarchs who had close ties to President Vladimir Putin in the wake of that country’s invasion of the Ukraine earlier this year. The club has been in something of limbo since March, as the UK government sought to freeze major assets of Abromavich and others, leading to ticket sales restrictions and other contract issues until the team could be sold. As part of the deal, 100% of the portion of the transaction related to buying Abramovich’s shares will be donated to charitable causes approved by the UK government.
2/2 We are satisfied the proceeds of the sale will not benefit Roman Abramovich or other sanctioned individuals. I want to thank everyone, especially officials who’ve worked tirelessly to keep the club playing and enable this sale, protecting fans and the wider football community
— Nadine Dorries (@NadineDorries) May 25, 2022
While Boehly is the public face of the new owners of Chelsea FC, the group is also backed by investment firm Clearlake Capital, and other deep-pocketed partners, including Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss, and Boehly’s Dodgers partner Mark Walter. They will take over a team that became a perennial power in European club soccer during Abramovich’s tenure as owner, finishing in the top four of the Premier League standings in all but three seasons since 2003, winning the league title five times and capturing the UEFA Champions League crown twice.
Chelsea FC finished the Premier League season in third place, behind Manchester City and Liverpool – but qualified for the Champions League 2022-23 campaign alongside other European giants including Tottenham Hotspur, Real Madrid, Barcelona, AC Milan, Juventus, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain, Ajax and Celtic.