An American billionaire, Todd Boehly is potentially a prime candidate to take over at Chelsea. He is the owner of Eldridge, an investment company, and also the co-owner of the LA Dodgers – and this sporting background may stand him in good stead.
Boehly is the part owner of WNBA team the Los Angeles Sparks, and saw a £2.2bn bid to buy Chelsea rejected by Abramovich in 2019. He is keen to expand his sports portfolio, and recently withdrew from talks to buy football team Washington Spirit.
American billionaire Boehly has received substantial backing and has a sporting background
He is also backed by big finances. Clearlake Capital are involved in the bid, and hold £45bn in assets. Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss, worth £3.9bn, has also featured prominently. Jonathan Goldstein, meanwhile, has £7.7bn in assets.
As well as the above names, Boehly has been able to lead on the expertise of PR executive Barbara Charone and Daniel Finkelstein, a journalist and Conservative peer in the UK. Both influential figures are self-professed Chelsea fans.
Reports indicated that the potential new owner has offered supporters a ‘golden share’, meaning no major decisions at the club would be made without consulting them – including the future of Stamford Bridge, which may be improved.
The fact that Boehly has also spoken of his desire to buy a top-flight club may help.
Swiss medical magnate Hansjorg Wyss is part of the proposal, and is worth around £3.9bn
He said: ‘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. The billion-pound question is the price. It’s hard to buy quality and not have to pay up.
‘Then it’s a question of can you continue to build on what you’ve acquired at that price? That’s the question.
‘I continue to believe there is a global opportunity for the best clubs. Ultimately, it comes down to can something get done that both sides think makes sense?’
SIR MARTIN BROUGHTON
With previous experience of running a Premier League club, Martin Broughton is another strong contender to take over at Chelsea. He is heavily backed with investment and, ahead of the preferred bidder being chosen, is a good choice.
Josh Harris and David Blitzer, who co-own Crystal Palace and the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA, are on board, while major US financier Michael Klein is also involved. The consortium have pledged to keep Chelsea at the top of world football.
Sir Martin Broughton’s consortium has previous experience running a Premier League club
In addition, Lord Coe – another Blues supporter and the president of World Athletics – is working with Broughton, and is another valuable face in their proposals.
Broughton helped broker the sale of Liverpool to Fenway Sports Group in 2010 and, during the process, acted as the club’s chairman. The change in ownership there has paid dividends, and the 74-year-old was praised for his efforts.
This bid has also placed an emphasis on the fanbase being heavily involved with the decision-making at the club, including the development of their ground.
There are a number of hiccups, however.
Harris and Blitzer’s investment in Palace has caused an issue, with Premier League rules stating that a person cannot acquire a ‘significant interest’, namely 10 per cent of more, if they already partly own another club.
In 2010, Broughton was chairman of Liverpool before they were sold to Fenway Sports Group
They are able to sell their stakes or resign from the board at Selhurst Park, and both scenarios would help to smoothly facilitate the takeover at Chelsea.
The duo have also splashed out on investments using their Sports & Entertainment Company, including NHL side the New Jersey Devils.
Broughton pledged to prevent Chelsea from suffering from geopolitical changes.
A statement outlining his ambitious proposals at the west London side read: ‘The plan will guarantee that the club is never beholden to a single individual or sovereign wealth fund, ensuring that the club never faces a crisis like this again.’
Lord Sebastian Coe, a Chelsea supporter, is working with Broughton to take over the club
Co-owner of the Boston Celtics, Atalanta and Bain Capital, which holds an eye-popping £92bn in assets, Stephen Pagliuca has perhaps slipped under the radar. He has rarely commented on his proposals, but has built up formidable support.
Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin, worth £9bn, has contributed to the finances behind the bid, along with Jim Breyer, a venture capitalist.
Also in the picture is NBA chairman Larry Tenenbaum, the co-owner of several sports teams in Canada. His experience may prove crucial should this bid be put forward, while Bob Iger, the former CEO of Disney, may also lend a helping hand.
Steve Pagliuca (left) confirmed NBA chairman Larry Tanenbaum (right) as co-managing partner in the Boston Celtics co-owner’s bid
Meanwhile, this consortium have received a formal endorsement from the True Blues fans group, which was co-founded by John Terry. They have raised £250million to buy a stake in the club and would hold a crucial voice if Pagliuca comes out on top.
It wasn’t until late March that Pagliuca’s intention to buy Chelsea emerged. He did, however, stress that he wanted the club to be ‘habitual winners’ and stated that they should be the ‘pride of London for its on and off-field accomplishments’.
There appears to be work to do for the 67-year-old, though. His 55 per cent stake in Atalanta in Serie A may be problematic for UEFA, with rules stating ‘no individual or legal entity may have control over more than one club’ in its competitions.
Pagliuca has already indicated he will take measures to meet the regulations.
Eduardo Saverin, the co-founder of Facebook, has contributed to the finances for the group
He has welcomed the support from the True Blues consortium, who are aiming to buy a 10 per cent stake from the eventual new owners to ensure fan representation.
‘We are thrilled to have such an accomplished group of individuals who are committed to the long-term interests of Chelsea Football Club,’ Pagliuca said.
‘We appreciate this opportunity and would be honoured to create an exciting future for this great football club.’