Chelsea are hoping to complete a takeover soon with help from the UK government in holding off the £1.6billion owed to owner Roman Abramovich. It comes amid uncertainty surrounding potential new ownership due to fears that the Russian will renege his offer to clear the loan altogether.
The saga is soon entering its third month, having started back in may when Abramovich announced his intentions to sell the club, just before he was sanctioned by the UK government in wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. US banking firm Raine were put in charge of sorting the offers for the club, while they filtered through them to choose a preferred bidder.
They went for Todd Boehly’s consortium, spearheaded by himself and backed largely by American private equity firm Clearlake Capital. While Mr Abramovich has since requested for another £500million for the club, to be donated towards victims of the war in Ukraine, it is believed Boehly has been able to finance that in a restructured deal.
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What may be tougher, though, would be if they had to refinance the £1.6billion of loans owed to the current owner for his spend during the tenure. However, the Times reports that the club are hoping the UK Government will intervene to hold the loan if so.
Abramovich initially promised to write off said debts once he left the club, though the government is said to be concerned about the potential for him to request for that money back. The loans were paid to the club through a business called Camberley International Investments, however the government could allow for the takeover to go through without money being paid to the business until they were certain none of it would go to Abramovich.
Ministers have already been careful to warn of the future of Chelsea in recent days, due to their sporting licence, which was given in light of the sanctions, expiring at the end of this month. Culture secretary Nadine Dorries in particular told the club they were on “borrowed time”.
With so much confusion, Boehly’s bid is said to be continuing to push on, with their period of exclusivity as preferred bidders allowing them to do so. Whether a deal can be pushed through remains to be seen, though there are plenty of twists and turns left.