The U.K. government signed off on a deal to sell soccer club Chelsea FC for £4.25 billion, equivalent to around $5.3 billion, to a group led by Los Angeles Dodgers part-owner
The U.K. Premier League team previously belonged to Roman Abramovich, a Russian oligarch who was sanctioned in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine. After Mr. Boehly’s consortium struck a deal with Mr. Abramovich, the U.K. government had to sign off on the transaction to ensure it complied with sanctions restrictions.
Mr. Abramovich has previously said he won’t receive any proceeds from the team sale, which are earmarked for charity. Funds of the deal are expected to go into an account controlled by the U.K. government.
A more complicated issue has been that Mr. Abramovich lent the club around $1.9 billion via a Jersey-based entity. There was concern over how Mr. Abramovich could write off the loan, given that he is frozen out of the European financial system.
“We are satisfied the proceeds of the sale will not benefit
or other sanctioned individuals,” said
the U.K. Culture Secretary on Twitter on Wednesday.
Of the total investment, £2.5 billion will be used to buy the shares in Chelsea, and that money will be distributed to charity. The remaining £1.75 billion is earmarked for investment in the club, including its stadium and women’s team.
Mr. Boehly’s group edged out two other U.S.-led groups, one headed by
co-owner of the Boston Celtics and co-chairman of private-equity firm Bain Capital, and one headed by Philadelphia 76ers co-owners and private-equity veterans
Mr. Abramovich acquired Chelsea in 2003 for about £140 million, spending lavishly over the years to attract and develop top players and reshaping the team into a powerhouse. It won last year’s Champions League, the top tournament among European clubs.
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