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Exclusive-Chelsea FC’s banker says Abramovich’s exit will not be rushed -Breaking

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Krystal Hu

(Reuters) – Roman Abramovich won’t rush to divest English football club Chelsea FC. A consultant on the process said to Reuters that he did so even though Britain was considering sanctions against him.

Chelsea FC reached out to Joe Ravitch, co-founder and CEO of Raine Group LLC to search for a buyer. This was after Abramovich, who had owned the club for 19 years, decided to sell it. After Russia’s invading of Ukraine caused a backlash worldwide against those who had close business ties with Vladimir Putin, the move was made.

Boris Johnson, the British Prime Minister faces increasing pressure from both political opposition and members of his party to include Abramovich in the sanctions his government is imposing against Russian oligarchs. British officials said that while they were considering making the move, they must first build a strong legal case to do so.

Ravitch claimed in an interview that his client will take sufficient time to find the balance between getting a fair deal and being the “best steward for Chelsea FC” and its supporters.

We won’t rush to do anything. Ravitch stressed that Chelsea needs the right owner in order for the club to progress. However, he couldn’t discuss the details publicly. A spokesperson for Abramovich could not be reached for comment immediately.

Abramovich instructed his assistants to create a charity foundation, which will be funded by all the net proceeds of the sale of Chelsea FC. This charity will benefit victims of the conflict in Ukraine.

According to people familiar with the situation, Abramovich expected the West London club sale to bring in more than 3billion pounds ($4billion). The process could take up to a month for a buyer and agreement.

Chelsea FC turned down a 2.5 billion-pound offer from an investor last Wednesday, indicating that Abramovich will not compromise his valuation expectations. One source said that the party did so without disclosing its identity. Abramovich purchased Chelsea FC in 2003, for an estimated 140 million pounds.

According to sources, Todd Boehly is the U.S.-based billionaire investor and owner of stakes in both the LA Dodgers baseball team and LA Lakers basketball team. He has been preparing a bid for Chelsea FC. He is working together with Swiss billionaire businessman Hansjörg Wyss, the sources added. We are unable to confirm the details.

Boehly spokespeople declined to comment. Wyss has not yet responded to inquiries for comment.

According to sources, Chelsea FC is determined to avoid any political controversy in Britain over its ownership change due to the conflict in Ukraine. Therefore, it’s unlikely that the buyer will be from China or Saudi Arabia.

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Ravitch speaks fluent Russian. He has worked hard to build a client base around the world. A U.S. national, he worked with the first president of the Russian Federation, Boris Yeltsin’s government in the 1990s as lawyer for Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, advising on how to draft laws on private property ownership.

Ravitch spent 16 years as a banker in New York, Hong Kong, and London. Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE:), where his efforts helped create NBA China and Yankee Entertainment and Sports Network. He then co-founded Raine with Jeff Sine in 2009. Sine had been a senior banker. Morgan Stanley (NYSE:).

Ravitch was a Raine advisor and worked on several deals with the Football Group. This includes a $500 million sale of the Football Group’s stake to Silver Lake in 2015, as well as a 400 million sale to Chinese Media Capital investors in 2015. He advised. Alibaba Vice chairman of Group Holding Ltd Joe Tsai discusses his acquisition of full control over the U.S. Basketball team Brooklyn Nets. The deal valued them at $2.35billion in 2019.

Ravitch joined Chelsea FC as a consultant in 2018. He worked on several deals including joint ventures, media rights, stadium investments, and joint ventures with Chinese companies.

Raine Group is a media, technology and sports deal firm that specializes in media and has advised many business leaders including Masayoshi son (CEO SoftBank Group Corp). Raine has also a venture capital and growth equity fund and manages over $4 billion. It has invested in Draftkings Inc. and Vice Media. Ravitch sits on their board.

In 2003, Abramovich invested in Chelsea FC. This coincided with Chelsea’s most successful period in its history. The team won five Premier League titles and five FA Cups, as well as the Champions League twice.

After the breakup of 1991, the 55-year old, who is of Portuguese and Israeli citizenship, was made one of Russia’s most influential businessmen. Forbes estimates his net worth to be $13.3 billion.

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