Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Britain’s wealthiest man, has announced that his business is bidding to acquire Manchester United from the Glazer family.
When the Glazers initially hinted they might sell in November, the 70-year-old millionaire from Failsworth, Greater Manchester, was discreet about his desire to take over his boyhood club.
British chemical tycoon joined the club.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe, a British chemicals tycoon, has officially joined the process of acquiring Manchester United from the Glazer family.
Ineos, Ratcliffe’s business, became the first possible bidder to go public on Tuesday by registering its interest with the merchant bank handling the Glazer family’s sale.
“We have officially placed ourselves into the process,” an Ineos spokeswoman told the Times.
The US, Middle East, and Asia are set to bid for the United next month. Parties must sign up to examine sensitive financial records and agree to due diligence before a takeover.
In October, Ratcliffe, who owns the Ineos Grenadiers cycling team, a third of Mercedes F1 and Nice football club, indicated he wanted a more excellent “asset” in football. He didn’t think the Glazers would sell.
“I’ve always supported Manchester United,” he stated. I saw the most incredible match in 1999 in Barcelona. But we can’t keep waiting for Manchester United.”
On Tuesday, Ratcliffe’s spokeswoman confirmed his involvement with Raine Group, the merchant bank advising the English Premier League team.
Glazers have been controlling the club since 2005
Since their 2005 £790m leveraged purchase, the Glazers have controlled Manchester United. Since then, the family has fought with the fans.
On Tuesday, the club’s New York-listed shares rose 1.3 per cent to $23.27, valuing it at $4.5bn, including debt. Since November, when the Glazer family said they were contemplating selling the club, the stock has increased roughly 80%.
The Glazers want £5bn, yet Ratcliffe, Forbes’ 111th-richest person, owns $15.5bn.
The Manchester United Supporters Trust expressed cautious hope, calling for supporters to be central to any new ownership arrangement.
Since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, United still needs to add to its 13 Premier League trophies, putting pressure on the Glazers.
The team has missed the Champions League for three years.
Any buyer must improve the team’s on-field performance and club infrastructure, notably Old Trafford and Carrington. Due to COVID-19, escalating wages, and failure to qualify for the Champions League, the club lost £230m over three years.
Last year, Raine sold Chelsea FC to US investors for £2.5bn, setting value expectations throughout European football and pushing many club owners to pursue outside investment. Liverpool FC owner Fenway Sports Group has also considered selling a share of the club entirely.
Manchester United has 1.1bn admirers worldwide and is one of the most valuable sports properties. Last year, Forbes valued it at $4.6bn, although some predict a higher selling price.
Last year, Ineos chairman Ratcliffe failed in a last-minute offer for Chelsea. He wants to purchase Manchester United, his childhood team. He left last year’s discussion with Joel and Avram Glazer, thinking they “don’t want to sell”.
The Glazers are exploring new investment, a sale, and other strategic options to improve United’s commercial operations, home stadium, and training facility.