U.K. gov approval of Chelsea sale brings drawn-out process to end

Chelsea's new owners will not be permitted to take dividends or management fees or load the team with debtGetty Images

The U.K. government’s approval of Dodgers investor Todd Boehly's purchase of Chelsea signaled the "end of not only the most expensive deal in sports history but possibly the most fraught, cryptic and political, too," according to Panja & Smith of the N.Y. TIMES. In the three months since Roman Abramovich "hurriedly put his team on the market," the EPL club's fate has played out "in the corridors of power at Westminster and the soaring towers of Wall Street." And all of it is "against the backdrop of crippling financial sanctions imposed after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine." Abramovich insisted that "all the proceeds from the sale would go toward a new charity to benefit the victims of the war in Ukraine." But all that "can be said for certain" is that a group led by Boehly and largely financed by the private equity firm Clearlake will "now control Chelsea." Sources said that Boehly’s bid was "eventually selected from the group of wealthy suitors because of its willingness to abide by the clauses." The new owners will "not be permitted to take dividends or management fees or load the team with debt -- terms that bankers related to the sale have described as 'anti-Glazer clauses.'" It is "not clear," though, quite what will "happen if Boehly and his partners choose to renege on any of the conditions once they have control of the club" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/25).

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