Qatari Sheikh, Ineos owner lead bidding for Man Utd takeover
Madrid Desk, Mar 23 (EFE).- Premier League giants Manchester United could soon come under new ownership amid a multibillion pound bidding process in which Ineos owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Qatar’s Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani appear to be the frontrunners, although the outcome remains far from clear.
Ratcliffe and Sheikh Jassim, chair of the Qatar Islamic Bank and owner of Paris Saint-Germain, are the only aspirant owners to go public with their bids but the American Glazer family, majority owners since 2005, could yet settle for selling a minority stake.
Several British media outlets including Sky Sports on Thursday reported that the deadline for revised second bids for Man Utd was extended beyond the initial Wednesday evening time agreed with the Raine Group, the investment banking firm managing the sale.
Other parties who have not gone public with their interest also lodged bids, Sky Sports reported, adding that Ratcliffe and Sheikh Jassim offered around 4.5 billion pounds (roughly $5.5bn), just short of the rumored 6 billion pounds sought by the Glazers.
The Qatar consortium led by Sheikh Jassim said in a February statement its bid would restore Man Utd to its “former glories both on and off the pitch.”
It added: “The bid will be completely debt free via Sheikh Jassim’s Nine Two Foundation, which will look to invest in the football teams, the training centre, the stadium and wider infrastructure, the fan experience and the communities the Club supports.”
Surveys have suggested, however, that fans would prefer a takeover by Ratfcliffe due to his credentials as a Man Utd fan and his previous success with sporting ventures including the cycling team, Team Sky.
The top bidders for the Red Devils would also prompt an ownership rule rethink by Uefa, given that the English side could face PSG or OGC Nice, which is owned by Ratcliffe, in European competitions. EFE