Football: Focus on Chelsea’s new Swiss and American owners

A Swiss billionaire and two American businessmen, already deeply involved in professional sports in the United States: who are the new owners of Chelsea, whose takeover was announced on Saturday?

Hansjörg Wyss is considered “the most influential Swiss in the world”.

REUTERS

Hansjorg Wyss

Unlike his two main partners, Wyss, 86, is not yet involved in professional sports.

This very discreet billionaire is the richest of the three investors with a fortune estimated by Forbes at 5 billion dollars, synonymous with the 552nd place in the world ranking compiled by the American magazine.

A Harvard graduate, Wyss started out in the textile industry, then worked in the automotive (Chrysler) and aerospace sectors, before founding the US subsidiary of Synthes, a Swiss group specializing in medical devices (prosthetics, implants) over which he controls before selling it to US giant Johnson & Johnson in 2012 for $20 billion.

Wyss, based in the United States, is considered “the most influential Swiss in the world” by the Blick newspaper. Like his associates, his ties to football are limited, his favorite sport is alpine skiing.

Hansjörg Wyss will discover the world of professional sports.

Hansjörg Wyss will discover the world of professional sports.

REUTERS

Todd Boehly

Boehly, 48, is the figurehead of the group that will buy the London club from Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich for almost five billion euros.

A graduate of the London School of Economics, the businessman first worked for several major US banks, including Citibank, before joining Guggenheim Partners, a financial services firm, in 2001 and then becoming president.

In 2015, this father of three left Guggenheim Partners to found Eldridge Industries, active in banking, insurance, real estate, technology, media, sports and even catering. His portfolio of assets includes the US music magazine Billboard, the catalog of songs and music rights of Bruce Springsteen and Cirque du Soleil.

Boehly is not his first investment in professional sports. In 2013, he bought the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball franchise from Frank McCourt, the current owner of Olympique de Marseille, along with other investors including Mark Walter, also present in Chelsea’s takeover bid, and former NBA basketball legend Magic Johnson.

Since then, he has entered the capital of the famous Los Angeles Lakers basketball team, as well as the American professional women’s basketball team of the LA Sparks.

His personal fortune is estimated at $4.5 billion, according to Forbes magazine, placing him 637th in the world ranking of the largest fortunes determined by the American magazine in 2022.

Boehly, who struggled as a teenager, a very popular sport in American high schools, had already tried to buy Chelsea in 2019.

He shares his life between Los Angeles and Connecticut, has been the interim president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association since 2021, which awards the Golden Globes each year.

Todd Boehly is the owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball franchise.

Todd Boehly is the owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball franchise.

AFP

Mark Walter

In 2012, Mark Walter, 61, was the principal architect of the Los Angeles Dodgers takeover for more than $2 billion.

Born in Iowa, this educated lawyer is the boss of Guggenheim Partners, which he co-founded in the 1990s. This investment fund, active in financial services, insurance or even consulting, estimates its assets at $325 billion.

The company is connected to the famous Guggenheim family, the embodiment of the American dream that made fortunes in mining and then banking and gave their name to several museums, including the one in New York designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

Walter, married and the father of one child, is very involved in protecting the environment, according to the American press.

His personal fortune is estimated at $3.9 billion, according to Forbes magazine, the 665th wealth in the world according to the ranking compiled by the American magazine in 2022.

Mark Walter was the principal architect of the Los Angeles Dodgers takeover.

Mark Walter was the principal architect of the Los Angeles Dodgers takeover.

USA TODAY Sports

AFP

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