Sir Jim Ratcliffe 'is the preferred bidder for the Glazers'
Sir Jim Ratcliffe ‘is the preferred bidder for the Glazers as they look to sell Manchester United – with Brit’s bid of over £5bn with American family remaining as minor shareholders winning out over Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani full takeover’
- The current owners have reportedly finally settled on their preferred bidder
- It could mean the end of the long drawn out process will follow shortly
- Been reported that Ineos billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe is the family’s first choice
The Glazers have reportedly identified their preferred bidder for Manchester United, more than six months on from the club first being put up for sale.
According to The Sun, Sir Jim Ratcliffe is set to be identified by the Glazers as their preferred bidder as the process takes a significant step forward and the American family’s controversial ownership of the club looks to come to a close some 18 years after they first took over.
Having announced during the World Cup that they were seeking fresh revenue streams, be that an investment in the club or an outright sale, much speculation has surrounded United and the potential next owners.
For months, it has appeared a battle between two candidates – British billionaire Ratcliffe and Qatari former banker Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani.
The report states that Ratcliffe’s £5bn bid is the preferred option, with the Glazers themselves remaining at the club as minority shareholders.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe is said to have been identified as the Glazers’ preferred bidder after six months
The Glazer family announced they were considering selling United after 18 years of highly controversial ownership in November 2022
It is said that complications have emerged throughout the bidding process which has dragged on for the entirety of this year owing to Joel and Avram Glazer’s desire to remain at the club.
The Raine Group, the New York-based merchant bank that has overseen the sale, are said to be nearing confirmation that the process will advance with Ratcliffe’s bid very much the frontrunner.
Though Sheikh Jassim’s bid of £5bn for 100 per cent control of the club was the highest bid received after three rounds of bidding, Ratcliffe’s offer for an initial stake of 50 per cent valued the club closer to the reported £6bn valuation set by the American family.
Should Ratcliffe’s bid be the one the Glazers’ move forward with, it could open the door to other investors entering the process.
The Ineos billionaire is one of two parties, alongside Qatari Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani (above), who are thought to be leading the bidding war
There have been consistent murmurings throughout the bidding process of American banks and financial institutions such as Carlyle purchasing a minority stake in the club.
Such an investment has been considered within the context of the Glazers’ keeping overall control, while also allowing fresh revenue in to improve Old Trafford and the club’s Carrington base.
The reports suggesting Ratcliffe’s bid is the one the Glazers will opt for is likely to disappoint, and perhaps anger, certain sections of the support.
This sale process was celebrated at the turn of the year as a significant juncture in the club’s history, with the Glazers set to depart Manchester for one final time to never return.
However, Ratcliffe’s bid is believed to be structured in such a way that they would remain at the club – albeit in a much smaller, and less powerful, capacity than they enjoy currently.
Protests were seen ahead of the club’s most recent home match against Aston Villa in which a significant section of supporters made their voices be heard that the sale should mean a clean break from the previous 18 years.
Nevertheless, a recent report by Sky News suggested their presence at the club would cease by 2026 owing to a clause inserted into Ratcliffe’s bid.
They reported that Ratcliffe’s takeover bid includes ‘put-and-call options which would become exercisable in 2026’.
A source reportedly told Sky News that the ‘put-and-call arrangements’ would ‘force the Glazers to sell their remaining shares to him or force him to acquire them’.
The clause could be triggered as little as three years into the deal and would ultimately push the Glazer family out of the picture.
However, Sky News are reporting that Ratcliffe’s takeover bid includes ‘put-and-call options which would become exercisable in 2026’
The clause in Ratcliffe’s offer will please the Manchester United’s fanbase as they have been campaigning to get the ‘Glazer’s out’ and for a ‘full sale’ of the club
Speaking back in February, Ratcliffe said: ‘We would see our role as the long-term custodians of Manchester United on behalf of the fans and the wider community.
‘We are ambitious and highly competitive and would want to invest in Manchester United to make them the number one club in the world once again. We also recognise that football governance in this country is at a crossroads.
‘We would want to help lead this next chapter, deepening the culture of English football by making the club a beacon for a modern, progressive, fan-centred approach to ownership.
‘We want a Manchester United anchored in its proud history and roots in the North-West of England, putting the Manchester back into Manchester United and clearly focusing on winning the Champions League.’
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