Chelsea find solution to transfer problem as Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital strike huge agreement

The controlling share in French first flight club Strasbourg will be acquired by Chelsea owner Todd Boehly and his Clearlake Capital partners in a deal that will have significant transfer consequences.

Chelsea have started a trip that has been in the works since the new ownership group took over at Stamford Bridge.

BlueCo, the holding company that bought the Blues from Roman Abramovich last year, was revealed to have acquired a controlling interest in French Ligue 1 team RC Strasbourg last week. As Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital pursue a multi-club strategy they believe will have long-term benefits for the club, it is a deal that may likely be followed by more acquisitions, possibly in Portugal next.

Most Premier League owners hold majority ownership interests in other athletic properties, many of which are located in North America. Majority roles exist at clubs all around Europe for people like the owners of Brighton & Hove Albion, Brentford, Manchester City, Crystal Palace, Aston Villa, and Nottingham Forest.

Club owners have been experimenting with the concept of multi-club ownership for a while now. This type of ownership allows for synergies to be created across a sizable portfolio of clubs, frequently with one main asset at the top of the tree, as is the case with Manchester City and the City Football Group and will almost certainly be the case with Chelsea and BlueCo.

Some owners of several clubs have the belief that each club should function independently and be treated as an individual asset. The capital infused will be used to maximize income potential and seek increase in the business’s valuation before being sold at a profit in the end.

Others have more complex motivations, and they want to connect all resources for each club’s advantage while eventually aiming to improve the chances of the club at the top of the pyramid. In the case of BlueCo, Chelsea will be the opponent, and the second investment move will be the chosen strategy.

In October of last year, at the Sportico Invest in Sports Conference in New York, Chelsea co-owner Behdad Eghbali revealed the plans. Football.london was in attendance and had the opportunity to question the co-founder of Clearlake about what the ownership would specifically be looking to achieve from such a move.

Eghbali stated that there were three main justifications for doing so. “One, each single business can be profitable if done effectively. Two, you can capture, acquire, retain, and monetize talent by using data and being mindful about this global talent market that is not efficiently done through a draft or extensive college farm system.

“Number three, for Chelsea it is the right avenue of developing potential, there is a talent arbitrage possibility.

Payroll costs don’t have to be outrageous.There are Premier League teams that make up 10% of the payrolls of the top five or six teams.

“We hired Brighton as our coach (Graham Potter), and we believe they are one of the Premier League’s best-run teams.”The owner has a history in sports gambling and data, spends 10% of the salary, wins almost as much, and runs a highly reliable, mid-market, profitable team.

We believe it can be a viable business if you apply some of that intellectual property to nurturing talent.Portugal is a fascinating market for us since it serves as a hub for South American and European visas.

Given the caliber of the league, the French market is intriguing. “Africa we think is a large, massive market.

“The (Los Angeles) Dodgers (part-owned by Boehly) operate a farm team and academy in Uganda.Looking at Africa as a market, it is a talent-rich untapped market with proximity to Europe and similar time zones.

“We’re all balancing on the edge of where this is going,” one person said. There are some very obvious advantages for Chelsea.

Finding possibilities to move players around has been difficult following the considerable spending over the previous two transfer windows that resulted in a bloated team that needed to be cut down. Finding a home for some of the younger fringe players in need of minutes at a good standard to develop, playing to the same uniform style, and having their progress monitored through one system offers the club the chance to maximize potential and, even if the players don’t make the cut in the first team, raise the resale value of the team’s assets gained in a competitive league, like Ligue 1,

Additionally, it offers Chelsea a transfer dilemma answer. They can sign players for other clubs with an eye toward developing them for the future if they can find a way in through one of the other BlueCo-owned assets. They can also help with any Governing Body Endorsement requirements should the club have reached its allotted quota, as made possible by a recent change in legislation from the Home Office.

Commercially speaking, it can be a worthwhile endeavor, but it’s unlikely that clubs in leagues like France and Portugal will see their valuations soar very soon.

Due to the size of the domestic and international television deals that have been made, the Premier League has been able to influence the valuations of its member teams.

The upside that BlueCo will be seeking for will be tied to strategy that can more significantly benefit the investment in Chelsea and the opportunity for success, and the rewards that come with it, in the longer run. The rest of Europe has lagged greatly in that regard.

 

 

 

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