- Manchester United’s owners, the Glazer family, have announced they are exploring strategic alternatives for the club, which may include a sale or new investment, after Cristiano Ronaldo’s criticism of the lack of investment in the team.
- Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, and Elliott Management are reportedly interested in buying Manchester United. Sheikh Jassim made a world record bid of more than £5 billion, while Ratcliffe’s bid is understood to be for just over 50% of United’s shares, leaving the Glazers with a minority shareholding of around 20%.
- The debt of Manchester United stands at £741 million, with £227.7 million left to pay in outstanding transfer fees, taking the total figure of money owed to just shy of £1 billion. The Glazers acquired the club in 2005 and the majority of Manchester United fans have been calling for them to sell the club in recent years.
Following Ronaldo’s controversial exit from Manchester United in November 2022, where he openly criticized the owners of the club for their lack of investment in an interview, the owners of the club, the Glazers, announced that the club are ready to explore strategic alternatives for the club.
The announcement was confirmed in a club statement which reads: “As part of this process, the Board will consider all strategic alternatives, including new investment into the club, a sale, or other transactions involving the Company.”
“This will include an assessment of several initiatives to strengthen the club, including stadium and infrastructure redevelopment, and expansion of the club’s commercial operations on a global scale, each in the context of enhancing the long-term success of the club’s men’s, women’s and academy teams, and bringing benefits to fans and other stakeholders.”
The Glazers family have held a stake in Manchester United since 2003, where they started with a shareholding of 3.17%. In 2005, they completed the full acquisition of the club.
The majority of Manchester United fans opposed their takeover after they realized the level of debt the club will be in after being debt-free for years.
The debt taken on by the Glazers to finance the takeover was split between the club and the family; between £265 million and £275 million was secured against Manchester United’s assets, putting the club into debt for the first time since James Gibson saved them in 1931. The debt of the club has continued to increase ever since.
Per The Athletic, the debt of the football club currently stands at £ 741 million with £227.7m left to pay in outstanding transfer fees, taking the total figure of money owed to just shy of £1bn.
Following their takeover in 2005, the club continued thriving under Sir Alex Ferguson which made the fans of the club fall back in love with the club. However, post-Ferguson’s retirement in 2013, the club lost its winning identity.
On the journey of finding a replacement for Ferguson and the right man to continue the winning tradition of the club, the club hired and fired around 7 first-team managers and interim managers within a decade from then.
As a result of the bad spells, United supporters’ concerns and frustrations with the Glazers in the past decade have grown to the brim, the majority of United fans are eager to see the Glazers sell up the club, with the takeover process becoming fairly long and drawn-out in recent weeks.
Who is interested in buying Manchester United?
This is understood to be the final round of bidding for the club which might put an end to the five-month takeover saga after the Glazers announced its willingness to explore strategic alternatives for the club which include the sale of the club or the opportunity of new investment.
The Glazers initially set a deadline for the first round of bids to put an end to the takeover saga on Friday, February 17. However, when we thought that would be the end of the takeover saga.
The Glazers had other plans in mind as the deadline was extended for the second round of bids to 10 pm, Friday, 28th April which puts an end to the second rounds of the bidding process and might end the five-month takeover saga. According to reports, the Glazers value the club for an amount of around £ 6 billion.
Sheikh Jassim is the third son of the Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jaber Al Thani who was a former prime minister of Qatar. The 44-year-old is the chairman of Qatar Islamic Bank, one of his country’s biggest banks.
Before the 10 pm deadline set yesterday, Sheikh Jassim made a world record bid of in excess of £ 5 billion to take over full control of Manchester United.
It is understood that the bid will also include wiping off all debts of the club and investments in the club and its infrastructure and supporting local communities.
The £ 5 billion offer would make Manchester United the most expensive sports team in history.
Sir James Arthur Ratcliffe is a British billionaire, chemical engineer and businessman. He has a net worth of $ 23.5 billion.
The 70-year-old is the chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of the INEOS chemicals group, which he founded in 1998. The company is estimated to have had a turnover of $65 billion in 2021.
He is a boyhood Manchester United fan and is not new in the business of sports management as he owns French Ligue 1 side, Nice and Swiss Super League outfit FC Lausanne-Sport, as well as the cycling team Ineos Grenadiers.
In view of the Glazers family’s intent not to only sell the club but also to consider new investment, Ratcliffe’s bid is understood to not be for the full acquisition of the club, but rather for just over 50 per cent of United’s shares, leaving the Glazers with a minority shareholding of around 20 per cent.
Elliott Management is an American investment management firm. It is one of the largest activist funds in the world.
The firm previously owned the Italian club, AC Milan after they took over the club in July 2018. The firm later sold the club to Redbird Capital for €1.2billion in August 2022.
It is understood that the bid from Elliot Management for Manchester United is a bid for a minority shareholding of the football club.
Following the Friday deadline for the second round of bids, it is yet to be known when and if the Glazers will consider the bids.
However, it is expected that over the coming days, the Glazers and Raine Group, who played a crucial part in Chelsea’s sale to American billionaire Todd Boehly last year, are expected to consider the bids on the table and which, if any, to accept and put an end to the five-month takeover saga.
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