Chelsea FC sale: Sir Lewis Hamilton and Serena Williams pledge funds to Broughton bid | Business News
Sir Lewis Hamilton and Serena Williams, two of the biggest sports stars in the world, are pledging millions of pounds for one of the competitive bids to become the new owners of Chelsea Football Club.
Sky News may exclusively disclose the full list of investors backing the takeover offer for Chelsea headed by Sir Martin Broughton, the former chairman of Liverpool FC and British Airways – the most prominent of which is the seven-time Formula One world champion and former world number one women’s tennis number one.
Sources close to the group said Mr. Lewis and Miss Williams – the most qualified members of any of the remaining three – have pledged an estimated £10 million each for the bid.
Both Sir Lewis, who will be competing for his Mercedes team at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in Imola this weekend, and Ms Williams, who has won 23 Grand Slams including seven Wimbledon titles, have both become champions. reputable investment in recent years.
Serena Ventures, the tennis star’s venture fund, this week announced an investment in Opensponsorship, a UK-based sports technology startup, while Sir Lewis has backed a range of early-stage companies like Zapp, the London-based fast grocer. delivery app.
Their entry into the Chelsea auction came as a surprise – especially because Sir Lewis is an Arsenal fan.
However, Sir Lewis and Mrs. Williams negotiated with group led by Sir Martin For many weeks.
It was not clear on Thursday morning which pair would use which corporate institutions to invest in the Blues.
The only British-led group among the trio of shortlisted contractors and there is another UK sporting icon in the form of Lord Coe among its supporters.
A source close to the matter said the addition of Sir Lewis and Ms Williams was a serious investment decision because of their experience in building global sports brands.
They also point out that the pair’s involvement isn’t the first time famous athletes have backed a Premier League club: LeBron James, the basketball legend, has been a minor Liverpool shareholder in the over a decade.
Under the group’s plans, Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment (HBSE), the parent company led by American private equity billionaires Josh Harris and Dave Blitzer, would take a controlling stake in Chelsea – albeit before that. they will need to divest their minority stake in Crystal Palace. to complete a transaction.
Their participation in the ownership and operation of Crystal Palace since 2015 is also a special factor among the remaining bidders for Chelsea.
Other investors in the consortium led by Broughton include: the Rogers family of Canada, which has a strong interest in the media and telecommunications company Rogers Communications; John Arnold, chairman of the FIFA World Cup Houston 2026 bidding committee; and the Tsai family of Taiwan, which owns the Taipei baseball team Fubon Braves and Fubon Guardians.
As Sky News reported on MondayAlejandro Santo Domingo, heir to one of the world’s largest brewing groups and an investor in several North American sports brands, is also investing in the bid.
Sources close to the offer led by Sir Martin said diversity in the global investor list was one of the factors that convinced Sir Lewis and Ms Williams to join.
An insider thinks Sir Lewis is likely to play a full-fledged role in Chelsea’s future efforts to promote diversity, equity and inclusion if the bid is successful.
He and Ms. Williams have been advocates in their respective sports and beyond in promoting equality, lending their names to numerous anti-discrimination initiatives.
That issue was brought to attention earlier in the Chelsea sale when one of the bidders – a consortium led by the Ricketts family owned the Chicago Cubs – was forced to distance himself from the “reviews” in the history. history.
Sir Martin’s conglomerate is arguably the best of the bunch to navigate the intricacies of owning Chelsea, including the future redevelopment of its home ground of Stamford Bridge.
Other contractors for Chelsea, including a company headed by billionaires Steve Pagliuca and Larry Tanenbaumalso has considerable real estate expertise, however, establishes a close struggle for success Roman Abramovich as Chelsea owner after nearly two decades.
The remaining third bidder is previous by Todd Boehlypart owner of the LA Dodgers, but will consider equity U.S. investor Clearlake Capital as its largest individual shareholder.
HBSE’s extensive holdings of major football teams involve investing in sports science and technology related assets in order to build fan engagement that has made HBSE one of the largest asset holders in the world. largest sporting goods in the United States.
It also has a large real estate business, which will likely place it well in the battle for a Premier League club whose stadium is significantly smaller than its rivals.
The group’s founders have invested in more than half a dozen football clubs, including the US MLS’ Real Salt Lake.
It also owns the Philadelphia 76ers basketball team and the New Jersey Devils ice hockey team.
According to an insider, the group is also said to be planning to keep Bruce Buck, Chelsea chairman and director Marina Granovskaia in senior roles at the club.
Under their plan, they will immediately invest – although undisclosed – in Chelsea’s squad, playing facilities, women’s team and academy.
All three bidders were ultimately required to provide a legal undertaking that they would secure an investment of at least £1 billion in club, academy and women’s team infrastructure should they purchase it.
The Raine Group, which is overseeing the sale, is expected to select a preferred contractor by the end of the month, after all parties have gone through the monitoring process as part of an inspection of the owners. and the director of the Premier League.
Sir Martin’s offer is being advised by Michael Klein, an investment banker who worked with him when he parachuted in as chairman of Liverpool FC in 2010.
It has support from Creative Artists Agency, a global talent agency, and Evolution Media Capital, a sports consulting and sponsorship partnership.
The deadline for final offers for Chelsea came a week ago, although prominent names have continued to appear in relation to it in the following days.
Sky News over the weekend revealed that George Osborne, the former prime minister, was parachuted to help Mr Boehly bid as Chelsea’s bid – believed to be the most politically charged sports deal in British history – entered the final stage.
The fact that Mr. Abramovich was sanctioned by the authorities and stripped of the directorship of the club he owned by the Premier League in 2003 left the fate of the Stamford Bridge team in the hands of ministers.
Raine will be responsible for referring a preferred contractor to the government to secure a special license to approve the purchase.
The True Blues Consortium – a group of Chelsea supporters, which includes former Blues captain John Terry among the founders – has thrown its weight behind Mr Pagliuca’s bid.
More than 10,000 Chelsea fans have expressed interest in owning more than £150m worth of shares as part of a deal that will see Mr Abramovich replaced as the club’s owner.
The final bids are expected to value Chelsea more than £2.5 billion – a figure that would break records for a sports club takeover.
If chosen at the right time, a preference bidder will have an FA Cup Final between Chelsea and Liverpool to look forward to, although a lackluster season in the Premier League and last week’s exit from the Champions League has raised eyebrows. the prospect of a titleless campaign at Stamford Bridge.
The purchase process has been complicated by sanctions against Mr. Abramovich, but has not stopped the interest of countless billionaires who control or own shares in a legion of North American teams. including baseball, basketball and ice hockey.
The group of bidders highlights the extent to which the Premier League has become a magnet for financiers from across the Atlantic over the past 20 years.
Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United were all acquired by US-based businessmen during that time, and a significant number of other top clubs also had American backing.
Last season’s Champions League winners were thrown into turmoil by Russia’s war with Ukraine, when Mr Abramovich initially proposed putting the club in foundation care and then officially putting it up for sale.
At first he booked a £3 billion price tag for the Stamford Bridge outfitwith the net proceeds will be donated to a charity established to benefit the victims of the war in Ukraine.
Association spokesman Sir Martin and HBSE declined to comment on Thursday.