Chelsea are expected to have new owners in place by the end of the month after the Premier League club said that terms have been agreed with the consortium led by Todd Boehly, Clearlake Capital, Mark Walter and Hansjoerg Wyss.
Chelsea have been up for sale since early March after Russian owner Roman Abramovich, who purchased the club in 2003, announced he was stepping down and seeking new owners. The sale process has been complicated by the sanctions imposed on Abramovich by the UK government amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, with the club operating under a special license which has limited the club's activity, including ticket and merchandise sales, renewing staff contracts, and a strict budget on travel expenses.
After weeks of uncertainty, some clarity was provided on Friday night with the confirmation that a takeover is imminent, subject to "all necessary regulatory approvals".
Chelsea said the new owners would pay £2.5 billion ($3.08bn) to purchase shares while committing a further £1.75bn to invest in the stadium, women's team, the academy and the Chelsea Foundation.
"Chelsea Football Club can confirm that terms have been agreed for a new ownership group, led by Todd Boehly, Clearlake Capital, Mark Walter and Hansjoerg Wyss, to acquire the Club," the statement read.
"Of the total investment being made, £2.5bn will be applied to purchase the shares in the Club and such proceeds will be deposited into a frozen UK bank account with the intention to donate 100 per cent to charitable causes as confirmed by Roman Abramovich. UK Government approval will be required for the proceeds to be transferred from the frozen UK bank account.
"In addition, the proposed new owners will commit £1.75bn in further investment for the benefit of the Club. This includes investments in Stamford Bridge, the Academy, the Women’s Team and Kingsmeadow and continued funding for the Chelsea Foundation.
"The sale is expected to complete in late May subject to all necessary regulatory approvals. More details will be provided at that time."
Abramovich cleared the path for the takeover on Thursday after dismissing reports he wanted a loan given to the club, reportedly worth £1.5bn, to be repaid.
The Boehly group, which also includes Swiss billionaire Wyss, were in exclusive negotiations to buy the club after a late bid from British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe was rejected.
Groups led by Boston Celtics co-owner Stephen Pagliuca and former British Airways chairman Martin Broughton were earlier eliminated from the bidding process while a consortium led by Chicago Cubs owners the Ricketts family pulled out of the running.
Boehly, the CEO of investment firm Eldridge Industries, has experience of being a part owner of major sports teams. He owns 20 per cent of Major League Baseball franchise Los Angeles Dodgers and last year acquired a 27 per cent stake in NBA team Los Angeles Lakers. He is also part owner of WNBA team Los Angeles Sparks.
All Chelsea trophies won in the Abramovich era
Boehly leads the consortium bid, but US investment firm Clearlake Capital is expected to hold the majority stake.
Speaking during the press conference for Chelsea's Premier League match against Wolves, manager Thomas Tuchel said on Friday he was “confident” that the Blues were closing in on a sale of the club.
“I've been told last week that we have a preferred bidder and things are going forward,” he said. “It's a pretty important week for the club, but I was fully focused on the pitch. But after what I heard last week I'm confident.”
Chelsea are currently third in the Premier League table and lead the race to secure a top four finish and with it, entry into next season's Champions League, while the club will also have the chance to add to the European Super Cup and Fifa Club World Cup trophies won this season when they face Liverpool in the FA Cup final on May 14.