Mark Walter, the major owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, has been added to the list of big hitters attempting to purchase Chelsea Football Club, which includes a number of Major League Baseball players.
According to a person familiar with the bidding process, Walter is joining the bid led by Todd Boehly, one of his partners in the Guggenheim ownership of the Dodgers. The firm is one of four attempting to buy Chelsea from Russian businessman Roman Abramovich, who has been sanctioned by the British government following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The Chicago Cubs’ Ricketts family, as well as David Blitzer, the pending minority owner of the Cleveland Guardians, are among the contenders. The NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and NHL’s New Jersey Devils are owned by Blitzer’s company, Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment. If MLB approves the deal, Blitzer will have majority control of the Guardians in five to six years.
Boehly is widely seen as the frontrunner to buy Chelsea. According to Forbes, the addition of Walter, who has a current net worth of $4.4 billion, puts the Boehly group on even better financial footing.
The addition of Walter by Boehly comes at a crucial time: next week is the deadline for bidders to submit their final offer to the Raine Group, the New York-based bank overseeing the sale. Boehly was in London this week, attending Chelsea’s Champions League loss to Real Madrid (3-1), and meeting with Chelsea executives on Thursday.
The ownership of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston Red Sox would become rivals in the Premier League if Boehly’s offer is successful; Red Sox owner John Henry is the majority owner of Liverpool Football Club. On April 18, the Raine Group is anticipated to submit the preferred bidder’s name to the UK government.
Because of Abramovich’s punishments, the government must provide special permission for the club to be sold, but approval is not likely to be a problem. The deal must also be approved by the Premier League.
Executives of the Los Angeles Dodgers feel their baseball philosophy might transition well to soccer. The team has had on-field success while undergoing substantial upgrades to refurbish Dodger Stadium and boosting the team’s engagement in the community in the nearly ten years since Guggenheim Baseball Management purchased official control of the franchise for $2.15 billion.