Todd Boehly’s $950m gambit to keep Chelsea in game
A major challenge for the new owners of Chelsea FC, an investment group led by Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital, was how they would manage to keep the England football team among the best in the world after investing $3.1 billion had paid for the purchase, especially since they bought it as part of their offer, they pledged to invest an additional $2.16 billion, including an upgrade of the team’s home at Stamford Bridge.
Now we know a big piece of this puzzle.
Chelsea’s owners are allegedly Borrowing of $950 million, which approximately consists of a $357 million revolving credit facility and a $595 million term loan. However, the debt will not sit on the football team’s balance sheet. Rather, it will be on the balance sheet of Chelsea FC’s holding company. This is a financial maneuver that frees the football team from the new UEFA Financial Sustainability Ruleswhich are intended, among other things, to prevent owners from financing their rosters with deficits.
Sports bankers say that while the debt is technically the holding company’s responsibility, the football team is actually the collateral for the loans. The shares in the football team are the most important capital of the holding. Interest payments on the debt are typically paid out of the holding company’s cash flow and/or the owners. But again, since the owners receive payouts from the holding company or the team, it’s really all the same money. Sometimes the owners also put up some of their own money as collateral and pay interest, bankers say. A spokesman for Eldridge, Boehly’s investment firm, did not respond to requests for comment.
But let’s not pretend that teams themselves aren’t the ultimate security.