Owners Box: Club Member Newsletter - April 19th
Chelsea bids down to three after Ricketts withdrawal, Audi & Porsche seeking Formula 1 exposure, ReKT Global sells to metaverse company, and Walmart heir eyes the Broncos
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Recent Sports M&A News and Developments
Chelsea takeover: Ricketts family’s consortium withdraws from race - The Guardian - April 15th, 2022
The race to buy Chelsea is down to three candidates after the consortium led by the Ricketts family withdrew on Friday.
Chelsea fans have opposed the bid in significant numbers over historical accusations of Islamophobia, including with a protest at Stamford Bridge. The Ricketts family has said it “rejects any form of hate in the strongest possible terms” and sources said supporter opposition was not behind the withdrawal and that the move came because the consortium’s three partners could not agree on the structure of the bid.
The Ricketts had partnered with the hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin and Rock Entertainment Group, which is headed by Dan Gilbert, who is worth an estimated $31bn (£23.7bn).
Boehly Reportedly Frontrunner As Chelsea Deadline Arrives - Front Office Sports - April 16th, 2022
The deadline for Chelsea FC bidders to submit their final offers has arrived — and Todd Boehly’s group is thought to be the frontrunner, according to the BBC.
If Boehly wins, he would beat out a consortium led by Sir Martin Broughton, the Ricketts Family Investment Group, and Stephen Pagliuca’s group. The four bidders reportedly agreed to make all-cash offers and will “not load debt onto the club.”
Boehly, who is an owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Lakers, and Sparks as well as Cloud9 and DraftKings, is estimated to be worth $4.5 billion as of Thursday — the 661st-richest person in the world.
The club is estimated to be worth $2.4 billion.
Rogue And London Royal Ravens Owner, ReKTGlobal, Bought For $470 Million By Metaverse Company - Forbes - April 12th, 2022
ReKTGlobal, the parent company of esports teams Rogue and the London Royal Ravens, has been acquired by Infinite Reality, a relatively unknown metaverse company, for $470 million in stock, based on a $2 billion equity valuation of Infinite Reality.
The deal, which is still pending approval, sees Infinite Reality acquire all of the ReKTGlobal assets and brands, including the two esports franchises, as well as the multiple other business owned by the company such as Greenlit Content, a content production agency specialising in the games and esports space, and TalentX Entertainment, a talent management company with many high profile internet stars on its books.
Report: Walmart heir Rob Walton bidding for Denver Broncos - SportsProMedia - April 1th, 2022
Rob Walton, the former chairman of retail giant Walmart, is bidding for the National Football League’s (NFL) Denver Broncos, according to The New York Post.
The 77-year-old, who is the son of Walmart founder Sam Walton, was reportedly expected to submit an offer worth more than US$4 billion for the franchise on 8th April. Walton has a net worth of US$70.5 billion, according to Forbes.
According to The Post, the deadline for opening bids was set for last Friday and the franchise is only accepting offers north of US$4 billion. The final sale price is expected to be between US$4.5 billion and US$5 billion.
Audi, Porsche Get Green Light to Join Formula 1 - Front Office Sports - April 8th, 2022
Volkswagen AG’s supervisory and management boards are backing plans for the company’s Audi and Porsche brands to join Formula 1 as early as 2026.
Porsche and Audi, two of Volkswagen’s 12 car companies, have yet to make a final decision on joining the motorsport circuit but are expected to supply engines. The move has also been welcomed by F1 world champions Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.
Audi and Porsche would join separate racing teams in Formula 1.
Porsche is pursuing a partnership with Red Bull Racing.
Audi is expected to join McLaren’s racing team.
Ice Cube’s BIG3 Basketball League to Offer Team Ownership Stakes as NFTs - Decrypt - April 4th, 2022
The BIG3 basketball league does things differently than the NBA, with 3-on-3 matches, four-point shots, and teams that aren’t tied to cities. And now, the league that rapper and actor Ice Cube co-founded in 2017 is ready to rethink team ownership too—using NFTs.
Today, BIG3 announced it will offer ownership stakes in its 12 teams in the form of NFT collectibles, effectively fractionalizing ownership on-chain. Each team will have 1,000 total NFTs split between two tiers: 25 "Fire" NFTs at $25,000 apiece, and 975 "Gold" NFTs at $5,000 per.
The league currently owns all of its teams entirely. In an interview with Decrypt, Ice Cube said that while BIG3 had always planned to sell teams to investors, the advent of blockchain technology and NFTs makes it possible to distribute ownership across a wider group—and not just to millionaires.
Audi Raises McLaren Offer to $718M to Enter Formula 1 - Front Office Sports - April 4th, 2022
Audi has reportedly raised its offer to buy a stake in McLaren’s Formula 1 unit from $495 million to $718 million, according to a report by Germany’s Automobilwoche.
McLaren and Audi are expected to sign a letter of intent, while a supervisory board will meet to discuss details of the deal later this month.
Audi’s parent company Volkswagen AG expressed interest in acquiring McLaren last year as a way to tap into the booming Formula 1 business. Formula 1 reported $787 million in revenue in Q4 2021, a 62% increase year-over-year, with viewership reaching 1.55 billion last season.
McLaren later called off a potential deal, deeming Volkswagen’s initial offer as too low.
Volkswagen could separately acquire a stake in McLaren’s road car division, McLaren Automotive.
Porsche, one of Volkswagen’s 12 car companies and brands, is pursuing a partnership with Formula 1 team Red Bull Racing.
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