Goldman Sachs, the mighty Wall Street investment bank, barged into Chelsea Football Club’s £3bn auction as an adviser to one of the leading bidders.
Sky News has learned that Goldman has been hired to advise the consortium led by Todd Boehly, one of the owners of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team.
Goldman’s addition to Mr Boehly’s offer was reportedly disclosed in an offer letter sent Friday to Raine, the merchant bank overseeing the sale of Chelsea.
While Goldman’s involvement at this stage is limited to an advisory rather than a financing role, his decision to work with Mr. Boehly underscores his apparent status as a frontrunner to succeed Roman Abramovich as owner of the Blues.
Spokespersons for Goldman and Mr. Boehly both declined to comment on Saturday.
News of Wall Street bank’s role comes less than 24 hours later Sky News has revealed Clearlake Capital, a California-based investment firm, has joined the consortiumwhich also includes Hansjorg Wyss, a Swiss businessman, and Jonathan Goldstein, a London-based property investor.
Read more: The deadline for bids passes – here’s who submitted bids to buy the football club
Raine is expected to whittle down dozens of preliminary offers to less than a handful in the coming days, leading to more serious and detailed negotiations with the remaining candidates.
Sources said the bid led by Mr Boehly was now ‘overfunded’, meaning she, like a number of other potential Chelsea buyers, got more capital than she would have probably need to buy the club.
This is largely due to the truncated timeframe on which the sales process takes place following the sanction of Roman Abramovichowner of the Blues since 2003.
Lord Finkelstein, a Times journalist, and Barbara Charone, a famous publicist, would join Chelsea’s board as non-executive directors if Boehly’s bid is successful, he revealed this week.
A source close to the group said its offer could be implemented quickly and the necessary capital was ready to be deployed immediately, paving the way for a rapid change of ownership at Stamford Bridge.
Mr Boehly’s consortium would provide long-term funding to Chelsea, including the redevelopment of its Stamford Bridge home, academy and women’s team, the source added.
Other bidders considered viable candidates include: a group – also revealed by Sky News – made up of the Ricketts family, owners of the Chicago Cubs baseball team, and Ken Griffin, the American hedge fund billionaire; Nick Candy, the real estate entrepreneur; and Sir Martin Broughton, whose involvement in the auction was first reported by Sky News last weekend.
On Friday, Mr Candy’s bid – through a vehicle called the Blue Football Consortium – confirmed that it had secured financial backing from two South Korean companies among a consortium of global investors.
“Chelsea are one of the most iconic and successful professional football clubs in the world, with a rich heritage, a global following and a very valuable brand,” Mr Candy said.
“Football clubs are vitally important community and cultural assets, and this is a unique opportunity to bring football back to the fans and put them at the heart of a global football club’s operations and strategy. foreground.”
The Sir Martin-led bid, which includes the backing of Lord Coe, the former British Olympian, is backed by US billionaire hedge fund and sports investor Josh Harris.
Sky News reported last weekend that Sir Martin was in talks with Mr Harris over a joint bid for Chelsea.
“I have a track record of success in boardrooms throughout my career and have done so before,” said Sir Martin, the former chairman of British Airways.
“I remain the only person to have made a change of ownership at a major football club in a similar situation, which I did at Liverpool 12 years ago.
“But most importantly, as a lifelong fan, I am committed to ensuring that Chelsea maintain their preeminent position at the top of European football and to ensuring that we put the fans first.”
Chelsea operate under a government-issued license which imposes strict spending limits on the club and prevents it from selling new match tickets or merchandise.
Chelsea’s corporate credit cards were frozen by Barclays last week as the UK bank sought to clarify the implications of sanctions against Mr Abramovich, deepening feelings of anxiety surrounding the club’s finances.
Chelsea face Middlesbrough in the FA Cup quarter-final on Saturday night, following a row this week over the London club’s hastily withdrawn request that the game be played behind closed doors on “sporting integrity” grounds.
A quick sale of Chelsea is seen as essential if they are to remain solvent and therefore retain the core of a squad of players which have established themselves as one of the most successful in Europe under Mr Abramovich’s ownership over the past few years. last two decades.
The government has made it clear that no proceeds from a takeover could flow to the Russian-born billionaire.
The cluster of American investors surrounding Chelsea underscores how much the English Premier League has become a magnet for investors from across the Atlantic over the past 20 years.
Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United were all acquired by US-based businessmen during this period, and a significant number of other top clubs also benefit from US backing.
Last season’s Champions League winners were upset by Russia’s war with Ukraine, with Mr Abramovich initially offering to hand the club over to his foundation and then officially put it up for sale.
Mr. Abramovich had first slapped a £3billion price tag on the Stamford Bridge outfitthe net proceeds being donated to a charitable foundation created to benefit the victims of the war in Ukraine.
The value of the offers tabled on Friday, however, remains uncertain.
Last week, Chelsea sponsors such as Three UK, the mobile telecommunications network, and Hyundai, the Korean car manufacturer, announced they were suspending their association with the club.
Anyone buying the club will need government consent in the form of a special license as well as Premier League approval as part of their test of ownership.
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