George Osborne advises Todd Boehly’s bid to buy Chelsea football club from sanctioned Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, as the auction enters its final stages, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
The former UK Chancellor, now a partner at consultancy Robey Warshaw, adds his political experience as Boehly vies with rival billionaires to acquire the English Premier League side.
Boehly, which is working with Goldman Sachs on the deal, is competing with private equity moguls Josh Harris and David Blitzer, and a separate bid led by Boston Celtics basketball team co-owner Stephen Pagliuca and co-chairman of the private equity firm. Bath Capital.
Osborne, a fan of the West London team, is close to Daniel Finkelstein, the Times columnist and conservative peer who lent his support to Boehly, co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team and former chairman of Guggenheim Partners.
The involvement of Osborne and Robey Warshaw underlines the complexity of Chelsea’s auction. The issues transcend price and range from needing to fund the expansion of its Stamford Bridge stadium to the government’s role in a forced sale by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and donating the net proceeds to charitable causes. . Osborne’s role was first reported by Sky News.
A consortium made up of Chicago’s Ricketts family, hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin and Cleveland Cavaliers basketball team owner Dan Gilbert pulled out of the auction on Friday after failing to s agree on the terms of their offer.
Bidders had to submit detailed offers by Thursday.
Raine Group merchant bankers handle the sale.
Any transaction requires special approval from the British government due to the sanctions imposed on Abramovich.
Osborne left the Evening Standard newspaper and asset manager BlackRock when he joined Robey Warshaw last year.
He has advised on some of the UK’s most high-profile transactions, such as the London Stock Exchange Group’s $27 billion purchase of data provider Refinitiv and Macquarie’s acquisition of a 4.5 billion majority stake. £2bn in National Grid’s gas transmission and metering business.
Osborne last year helped Robey Warshaw win a mandate to advise Rusal, a subsidiary of Russian metallurgical group EN+, on a number of files.