Chelsea are officially under new ownership as Todd Boehly completed his £4.25billion ($5.3bn) purchase of the Stamford Bridge club on Monday.
Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Boehly had earlier agreed to purchase the Premier League team, ending Roman Abramovich’s ownership tenure after 19 years.
The London club was put up for sale before Abramovich was sanctioned over his links to Russian president Vladimir Putin.
After a number of bids were rejected, Chelsea agreed to a deal with the consortium that included Boehly, Dodgers principal owner Mark Walter, Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss, and funding from private equity firm Clearlake Capital.
The 48-year-old US tycoon's consortium finally took over at Stamford Bridge on Monday, having completed the record sports franchise purchase. Boehly's team fought off serious rivals to become the new Chelsea owners, in a sale process that started on March 2.
"We are honoured to become the new custodians of Chelsea Football Club," said Boehly.
"We're all in – 100 per cent – every minute of every match. Our vision as owners is clear: we want to make the fans proud.
"Along with our commitment to developing the youth squad and acquiring the best talent, our plan of action is to invest in the club for the long-term and build on Chelsea's remarkable history of success.
"I personally want to thank ministers and officials in the British Government, and the Premier League, for all their work in making this happen."
Chelsea 2021/22 season ratings
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 LA 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.
Russian-Israeli billionaire Abramovich's 19-year tenure as Chelsea owner has thus come to an end. He oversaw a successful period, changing the face of English football forever with his major investment and drive for success.
Chelsea had been operating under a special license issued by the UK government since Abramovich's assets were frozen in March and it was set to expire on May 31.
The club said they had received more than 250 enquiries from proposed purchasers, adding that 32 confidentiality agreements had been reached with interested parties.
They eventually received 12 credible bids, which were narrowed down to four before the Boehly-led consortium was chosen as the preferred bidder.
Abramovich bought the club in 2003 for a reported £140 million ($177.21 million), with his investment resulting in the most successful era in their history as they won five Premier League titles, five FA Cups and the Champions League twice.
Abramovich officially put the club up for sale on March 2, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The UK government then sanctioned Abramovich on March 10, claiming to have proven his links to Putin.
Clearlake Capital co-founders Behdad Eghbali and Jose Feliciano expressed their delight at pulling off the deal for Chelsea, and pointed to a bright future.
"We are excited to commit the resources to continue Chelsea's leading role in English and global football, and as an engine for football talent development," said Eghbali and Feliciano in a joint statement.
"We also want to thank the authorities for all their work throughout the process.
"As pioneers in sports and media investing, we are thrilled to partner with Todd and the rest of the consortium to meaningfully grow the club as a global platform.
"Together, we will expand the club's investment across infrastructure, technology, and sports science to support the incredible Chelsea football and commercial teams – all with the goal of leveraging this growth to fuel even more on-pitch success."
The completion of the sale now allows Chelsea to renew transfer activity as well as permit players to sign new contracts, which was prohibited as part of the sanctions imposed. It will also allow manager Thomas Tuchel to breathe easier after the distraction of the sale affected their recent campaign.
Chelsea finished third in the recently concluded Premier League season. They lost to Liverpool in the FA Cup and League Cup finals, while they were knocked out of the Champions League in the quarter-finals by eventual champions Real Madrid.