Sir Jim Ratcliffe, who is rumoured to be prepared to make a fresh offer, and Sheikh Jassim’s proposals to purchase Manchester United are both still being considered by the Glazer family. Since the primary owners of the Red Devils announced about a year ago that they were looking for fresh investment in the team, which may include an outright sale, no significant movement has been achieved.
Old Trafford administrators have been in negotiations with the two leading bidders for months; Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani, who is headquartered in Qatar, wants to fully acquire the club, while British billionaire Ratcliffe prefers to invest a majority of the money.
The petrochemicals tycoon, who serves as CEO of INEOS, had initially offered to purchase just shares from the Glazer family in order to acquire a 69% holding in United. That is believed to have raised red flags for the club’s minority shareholders, who worry about a potential conflict of interest when directors propose a preferred bidder.
Bloomberg claims that Ratcliffe is currently modifying his offer to specifically address those issues and may make a new offer later.
Ratcliffe and Sheikh Jassim haven’t come close to the Glazer brothers’ rumoured £6 billion asking price, but it’s said that after 18 years of club ownership, Joel and Avram are hesitant to sever all links to Old Trafford.
The fact that the Glazers can only continue to be connected with United through his arrangement may theoretically give the head of INEOS an advantage in discussions. Large segments of the club’s core supporters, however, do not share that aspiration and hold the American businessmen responsible for the Manchester team’s mounting debt and the club’s historically underwhelming on-field performances.
Sources close to the negotiations, who declined to be named, are quoted in the Bloomberg report as saying that “both proposals are still being considered by the club, as well as a potential minority stake sale.”
Ratcliffe’s offer seems complicated, but Sheikh Jassim’s is much simpler. The Qatari banker wants to purchase all of the club’s shares and, with the aid of his group of investors, is pledging significant investments in players and new infrastructure.
United has dropped three of their first six games and is currently seventh in the Premier League. They play Crystal Palace in the Carabao Cup tonight at Old Trafford.