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EPL set to approve Boehly-led group's Chelsea purchase

Todd Boehly (c) was at Stamford Bridge on Saturday to see Chelsea play for the first time since agreeing to become the club's new part ownerGetty Images

The EPL is "set to approve” the US$5.2B takeover of Chelsea by a consortium led by Dodgers co-Owner Todd Boehly, according to Matt Lawton with LONDON TIMES. The league behind the scenes has been "conducting due diligence on the prospective owners and is close to signing off on the deal.” All parties also are "increasingly confident” that the U.K. government will "issue a license for the sale." Sources believe that the "majority of concerns raised by the government, as well as current owner Roman Abramovich, have also now been met.” Issues about a $2B “loan owed to Abramovich will likely be resolved by the money being held in an account controlled by the government.” The sale -- $3.1B of which is for the share purchase, the other $2.1B “pledged for further investment” -- is “expected to go through in late May" (LONDON TIMES, 5/7). In London, Tom Morgan wrote the U.K. government will “intensify talks” with Boehly and Chelsea this week. Ministers are "yet to be fully satisfied” by renewed claims by Abramovich that he "will not profit.” But even after "fresh promises that every penny” of the initial $3.1B sale “would go to charity, there remains doubt over how the money will be paid into a foundation destined for Ukraine” (London TELEGRAPH, 5/7). In N.Y., Tariq Panja wrote the sale was one of the "more unusual in modern sports history.” The $3.1B price would be the "most ever paid for a team in any sport.” Boehly’s group “is being backed” by American investment firm Cleanlake and also includes Swiss businessman Hansjorg Wyss and Dodgers co-Owner & Chair Mark Walter (N.Y. TIMES, 5/6).

SPENDING STRATEGY: The TIMES' Panja noted Abramovich “invested nearly $2 billion of his personal funds” during his 19-year tenure as owner, during which he "covered losses of about $1 million a week as he recruited some of the best players in the world.” The strategy “was expensive but successful.” Chelsea “enjoyed the most successful period in its history, becoming a serial contender” for domestic and international honors and winning five EPL and two European Cups (N.Y. TIMES, 5/6).

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