Todd Boehly: A closer look at new Chelsea owner after takeover from Roman Abramovich

·3 min read

Todd Boehly is the new owner of Chelsea.

A consortium led by the American businessman and investor has finally been given the government green light to take over the club, which was put up for sale by Roman Abramovich in March after the Russian was sanctioned following his country’s invasion of Ukraine.

Boehly fended off bids from Sir Jim Ratcliffe, the founder of Ineos who entered the process late, as well as Sir Martin Broughton and the Chicago Cubs-owning Ricketts family.

Boehly teamed up with fellow Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Mark Walters, British businessman Jonathan Goldstein, Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss and US investment firm Clearlake Capital.

Owner of Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise the Dodgers, Boehly graduated from William & Mary university in 1996 and also studied at the London School of Economics.

Pursuing a career in banking and venture capital, he spent time working for industry heavyweights Credit Suisse and J.H. Whitney & Company, before joining Guggenheim Partners.

While president, Boehly formed holding company Eldridge Industries, buying out several media properties and diversifying investments.

The 46-year-old is, according to Forbes, now worth around £3.6billion ($4.5bn).

Roman Abramovich has been forced to sell Premier League club Chelsea (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
Roman Abramovich has been forced to sell Premier League club Chelsea (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Alongside his part-ownership of the Dodgers, Boehly also has stakes in Los Angeles-based basketball teams the Lakers (NBA) and Sparks (WNBA).

He is also an owner of DraftKings, a prominent sports gambling company.

Boehly has made overtures towards owning Chelsea previously; an offer of $3bn (£2.2bn) was knocked back by Abramovich in 2019.

“Football’s the biggest sport in the world, the passion the fans have for the sport and the teams is unparalleled,” Boehly told Bloomberg at the time that his interest in buying Chelsea emerged.

“So what you are trying to build with these teams, you are really trying to a) win and (b) be part of the community.

“The opportunity we had with the Dodgers was really about part-ownership with Los Angeles. How are we going to win? How are we going to drive championships and how are we going to build passion? If you look at what the Premier League offers, it’s all of those things.

“It’s the highest quality play, it’s the best players, and you also have a media market that’s just really developing.”

Completion of the takeover brings to an end a 12-week saga sparked by Abramovich officially putting the Blues up for sale on March.

Boehly has been in attendance at a number of Chelsea matches (PA Wire)
Boehly has been in attendance at a number of Chelsea matches (PA Wire)

Earlier this month, the deal seemed close to collapse over concerns proceeds would not reach good causes as promised by the Russian-Israeli billionaire.

Abramovich, who bought Chelsea in 2003, denied he had asked for his £1.5bn loan to the club be repaid when the sale was concluded.

Several parties expressed an interest but Chelsea agreed to sell to the Boehly-led consortium earlier in May.

Chelsea’s players and staff found out the club was being sold at Kenilworth Road, amid final preparations for their FA Cup fifth-round clash at Luton.

The Blues prevailed 3-2 despite the obvious distractions, as Abramovich released a statement pledging to write off the club’s debt and set up a foundation to aid victims of the war in Ukraine.

Abramovich was then sanctioned by the UK government on 10 March, with Downing Street claiming to have proven his links to president Putin.

Chelsea were put under a strict government operating licence, with all of Abramovich’s other UK assets frozen.

The sanctions meant Chelsea could not conduct any transfer business, with either existing players or external targets.

The Blues should now be able to return to business as usual - and there is no time to lose in reconfiguring the playing squad.

Thomas Tuchel’s side, who won the Champions League last season, finished third in the Premier League - 19 points adrift of champions Manchester City - and were beaten by Liverpool in the finals of the FA Cup and Carabao Cup.

The German manager is set to lose key defenders Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen on free transfers to Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively meaning Boehly is expected to have to bankroll a significant spend this summer.

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