Chelsea’s home stadium, Stamford Bridge, is seen through the trees in London on March 10, 2022, as Chelsea’s Russian owner Roman Abramovich faced a UK asset freeze and travel ban that ruined his plan to sell the European and club world champions.
Justin Tallis | AFP | Getty Images
Lewis Hamilton and Serena Williams are promising millions of pounds in one offer to become Chelsea’s new owners.
sky news can exclusively reveal the full list of investors backing the takeover bid, led by Sir Martin Broughton, former chairman of Liverpool and British Airways, most famously the seven-time Formula 1 world champion and former world No. 1 tennis player.
Sources close to the group said Hamilton and Williams – the most prominent members of one of the three remaining consortiums – have pledged around £10m each to the bid.
The two Hamiltons who will compete for Mercedes at the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix at Imola this weekend live Sky Sports – and Williams, who has won 23 Grand Slams, including seven Wimbledon titles, have become independent investors in recent years.
Serena Ventures, the tennis star’s venture capital fund, this week announced an investment in Opensponsorship, a UK-based sports tech startup, while Hamilton has backed a number of startups such as Zapp, a fast food delivery service in London. statement.
Their participation in the Chelsea auction is unexpected, not least because Hamilton is an Arsenal fan.
However, Hamilton and Williams have been negotiating with the Broughton-led group for several weeks now.
Thursday morning, it was unclear which legal entities the pair would use to invest in the Blues.
The consortium is led exclusively by the British among the three shortlisted contenders, and among its supporters is another British sports icon in Sebastian Coe.
A source close to the group said the addition of Hamilton and Williams was a major investment decision due to their experience in building global sports brands.
They also noted that the pair’s involvement was not the first time famous athletes have supported a Premier League club – NBA star LeBron James has been a minor shareholder in Liverpool for more than a decade.
Under the consortium’s plans, Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment (HBSE), a holding company run by American billionaires Josh Harris and Dave Blitzer, will own a majority stake in Chelsea, although they will have to give up their minority stake in Crystal Palace. to close the deal.
Their involvement in the ownership and management of Crystal Palace since 2015 is also a differentiating factor among Chelsea’s remaining contenders.
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Other investors in the Broughton-led group include: the Canadian Rogers family, which owns a large stake in the media and telecommunications company Rogers Communications; John Arnold, who led the bidding committee for the 2026 FIFA World Cup in Houston; and the Taiwanese Tsai family, owners of the Taipei Fubon Braves and Fubon Guardians baseball teams.
Like sky news Alejandro Santo Domingo, heir to one of the world’s largest brewing fortunes and investor in several North American sports franchises, is also investing in the offering, it was reported on Monday.
Sources close to the Broughton-led bid say the diversity of its global investor list was one of the factors that convinced Hamilton and Williams to get involved.
An insider suggested Hamilton would likely play an official role in Chelsea’s future efforts to promote diversity, fairness and inclusiveness if the bid is successful.
He and Williams have been advocates in their respective sports and beyond for promoting equality, lending their names to numerous anti-discrimination initiatives.
The issue had been raised earlier in the Chelsea sale, when one of the bidders – a consortium led by the Ricketts family, owners of the Chicago Cubs – was forced to distance themselves from historic Islamophobic remarks.
Broughton’s consortium is said to believe they are better placed to handle the complexities of owning Chelsea, including a potential redevelopment of their home at Stamford Bridge.