REVEALED: Newcastle’s Saudi owners, the Public Investment Fund, are major investors in Chelsea’s new majority shareholder, Clearlake Capital…
- Saudi Arabia’s public investment fund bought Newcastle for £350m in 2021
- They have also invested billions in assets managed by Clearlake Capital
- Clearlake bought 60 per cent of Chelsea in the club’s takeover for £4.25bn
- Chelsea insists there was no Saudi involvement in Clearlake purchase
The Saudi owners of Newcastle United are also major investors in Chelsea’s new majority shareholder, Clearlake Capital.
In a revelation that will raise questions about the transparency of the world’s most expensive sports sales, Sportsmail can reveal that the Saudi public investment fund [PIF] have billions of pounds of assets managed by Clearlake, which bought 60 per cent of Chelsea this summer in a £4.25 billion takeover.
Sources at Chelsea insist there was no Saudi involvement in Clearlake’s purchase of the club, allaying concerns over potential conflicts of interest.
However, the disclosure will raise more questions about the source of Clearlake’s funding, as well as highlight a lack of transparency regarding an extraordinary takeover caused by Roman Abramovich being sanctioned by the government after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Clearlake has pledged at least £2.55bn to Chelsea in a takeover led by LA Dodgers owner Todd Boehly, who also bought a stake in the club along with his business partner Mark Walter and Swiss entrepreneur Hansjorg Wyss.
The US-based private equity firm manages around £60 billion in assets on behalf of around 300 investors worldwide, including significant investments from PIF, which paid £350 million last year to buy Newcastle from Mike Ashley. PIF invests in several private equity firms in addition to Clearlake, a diversified fund in which none of the shareholders own more than five percent.
The owners of Newcastle, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, are major investors in Chelsea’s majority shareholder, Clearlake Capital
Clearlake bought 60 per cent of Chelsea this summer in a £4.25bn takeover, with Todd Boehly (pictured) – who is not part of the group – heading the club’s board
Chelsea got new ownership after government finally gave the go-ahead in May after sanctions against Russian chief Roman Abramovich
The Premier League was convinced enough of the source of Clearlake’s funding to quickly approve the deal after the government finally gave the green light in May.
Chelsea went to great lengths to show that no Russian money was involved in the transaction, but did not publicly disclose that Clearlake has Saudi investors.
The Premier League has been criticized for allowing the Saudi takeover of Newcastle despite strong government advice.
Chelsea also received a Saudi bid for the club that followed, but the bid from the Saudi Media Group led by Mohamed Al-Khereiji was not shortlisted by the club. Chelsea and the Premier League declined to comment.