The owners of Chelsea FC are considering increasing their borrowing by as much as £250 million ($305 million), people with knowledge of the matter said, as they look to continue the free spending that’s defined their short tenure in charge of the English football club.
(Bloomberg) — The owners of Chelsea FC are considering increasing their borrowing by as much as £250 million ($305 million), people with knowledge of the matter said, as they look to continue the free spending that’s defined their short tenure in charge of the English football club.
Bank of America Corp. is advising them as they weigh taking on more debt under existing loan agreements, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing confidential information. Chelsea’s owners already had £800 million in loans in place, with the option of taking the limit on these to £1.05 billion, one of the people said.
Lenders were invited to attend Chelsea’s recent match against Aston Villa FC, according to the people. Deliberations are ongoing and no decisions have been taken on the final amount of any additional borrowing, they said.
Fresh funds would give added financial firepower to Chelsea’s majority owner Clearlake Capital and US investor Todd Boehly, who have already spent hundreds of millions of pounds on new players since taking control in May 2022. They’re also looking to fund a redevelopment of Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge stadium in west London, as well as invest in more football clubs.
Just last week, it emerged Chelsea had raised £500 million of subordinated debt from US direct lending giant Ares Management Corp. in a separate transaction. The club’s owners are not interested in bringing on new equity investors at this time, according to one person familiar with the matter.
Representatives for Clearlake, Chelsea and Bank of America declined to comment.
So far, the big outlay from Chelsea’s owners has brought little success on the field. Chelsea finished 12th in the English Premier League last season—its worst performance in 29 years. The club has also endured a tough start to the current campaign and sits in 14th place in the league.
While loading clubs with debt isn’t uncommon in the world of football, it’s largely frowned upon by fans concerned about the impact on financial sustainability. Supporters of Manchester United Plc quickly turned on the US Glazer family following its leveraged buyout of the club in 2005. The English Premier League this year voted to ban full LBOs of teams in the division.
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