Install

Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

A Private Club for Abramovich

APChelsea players celebrating Sunday after winning a tournament in Malaysia.
Less than a month after coming out of relative reclusion with the purchase of a controlling stake in London soccer club Chelsea, secretive Chukotka Governor Roman Abramovich is resorting to form and taking the storied franchise private.

Abramovich offered to buy the 49.91 percent of Chelsea Village that he did not already own at 35 pence per share at the start of July and set a deadline for shareholders to accept or reject his offer by 6 p.m. Moscow Time last Friday. On Monday, Chelsea Ltd., the company Abramovich created to take over Chelsea Village, said the offer was 87.5 percent subscribed and that the oil and metals tycoon now owns 93 percent of the club -- enough to delist it from the stock exchange.

"Chelsea Village will become a private company, at which point Chelsea Ltd. will be able to pass any shareholder resolutions of Chelsea Village ... without the approval of the Chelsea Village shareholders who do not accept the offer," the company said in a statement.

While half of the 20 clubs in England's Premier League are publicly listed, the lack of reporting requirements for a privately owned company may appeal to Chelsea's new owner. Since taking over the club, Abramovich has reportedly been on the verge of signing nearly every great footballer in the game.

"The most important thing is that if Abramovich wanted to buy a player then he wouldn't have to announce it to the stock exchange," said Lee Darbyshire of Soccer Investor. "He can keep quiet about the actual amount of money he has paid."

The last day of trading of Chelsea shares is expected to be Aug. 22, the company said.

As for those few Chelsea stockholders who declined to sell, Abramovich is offering a new deadline of Aug. 26 -- and souvenirs.

Nostalgia-smitten shareholders who accept the terms of the bid will have their share certificates returned to them and will receive a limited-edition commemorative certificate signed by current players and coaches.

The company also announced its terms for buying out Chelsea's debt, offering to buy back all of its ?75 million eurobonds at 101 percent of face value plus accrued interest.

In addition, Eugene Shvidler, the CEO of Abramovich's oil company Sibneft, will be replaced on Chelsea Village's five-man board by Bruce Buck, a partner with the law firm representing Chelsea Ltd. who is said to be "a Chelsea fan," according to Sibneft spokesman John Mann.

As for the $55 million Abramovich has spent acquiring four players since he bought the club, Darbyshire said that expectations had been for a glitzier shopping spree.

"The four buys he's made are unexpected in some ways," he said. "Because of the amount of money he has some people thought he was going to go in and buy more famous players," Darbyshire said.

All told, Abramovich has spent upward of $300 million on acquiring the club, paying its debts and signing new players.