Sport: Newcastle's owners are investors in Chelsea's new majority shareholder

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Newcastle United’s Saudi owners are also major investors in Chelsea’s new majority shareholder, Clearlake Capital.

In a revelation that will raise questions over the transparency of the world’s most expensive sports sale, Sportsmail can disclose that Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund [PIF] have billions of pounds of assets managed by Clearlake, who bought 60 per cent of Chelsea in a £4.25billion takeover this summer.

Chelsea sources insist that there was no Saudi involvement in Clearlake’s purchase of the club, thus alleviating concerns over any potential conflicts of interest.

The disclosure will raise further questions over the source of Clearlake’s funding however, as well as highlighting a lack of transparency regarding an extraordinary takeover that was triggered by Roman Abramovich being sanctioned by the government following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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Clearlake committed 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 American-based private equity firm manage around £60bn of assets on behalf of around 300 investors globally, including significant investment from PIF, who paid £350million to buy Newcastle from Mike Ashley last year. PIF invest in several private equity firms in addition to Clearlake, a diverse fund in which none of the shareholders own more than five per cent.

The Premier League were sufficiently convinced of the source of Clearlake’s funding to approve the deal quickly after the government finally gave the go ahead in May.

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Chelsea went to some lengths to demonstrate that there was no Russian money involved in the transaction, but did not publicly disclose the fact that Clearlake have Saudi investors.

The Premier League were widely criticised for permitting the Saudi takeover of Newcastle despite acting on the strong advice of the government.

Chelsea also received a Saudi bid for the club following, but the offer from the Saudi Media Group fronted by Mohamed Al-Khereiji did not make the club’s shortlist. Chelsea and the Premier League declined to comment.

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