TalkSPORT has reported that the sale of Manchester United has been thrown into chaos after the two main bidders failed to submit their world-record offers before the Wednesday night deadline. Associates of Qatari banker Sheikh Jassim Bin Al Thani and Sir Jim Ratcliffe had briefed that they had made offers, but sources close to the Raine Group, who are acting on behalf of the Glazer family, insist no formal bids from the pair were received. Both parties are expected to ratify their bids, worth around £5bn, by the end of the week. However, talkSPORT has been told that several other groups interested in buying a smaller percentage of United did meet their deadline.
As reported earlier this week, brothers Joel and Avram Glazer are still leaning towards selling a minority shareholding rather than the entire club. Any bid would eclipse the world-record fee for a sports club with NFL side the Denver Broncos being sold for £3.75bn last summer currently the record. The Raine group, who are brokering the sale, closed for business in New York at 5pm (9pm UK time).
The first bid from Sheikh Jassim was in the region of around £4.5bn, short of the £6bn asking price the Glazers are asking for. Ratcliffe and his INEOS delegation spent six hours last Friday to discuss their plans and objectives should they be successful in their offer. He described how he intends on investing to ensure Man United are ‘purely in winning things’, calling the club a ‘community asset’. The Qataris are also not willing to pay over the odds for the club, with a delegate spending ten hours at Old Trafford in the past.
The Glazers acquired the club for £750m in a highly-leveraged deal in 2005. After a controversial reign, they announced they were seeking ‘strategic alternatives’ that could include a sale last year. Ratcliffe, who made an unsuccessful bid in the region of £4.25bn to buy Chelsea in 2022, was born in the Manchester area and is a boyhood Man United fan. He is one of the richest people in Britain with an estimated personal fortune of £6bn.
Sheikh Jassim, the son of a former Qatari prime minister, is the chairman of Qatar Islamic Bank. He has said his interest is a private initiative through his Nine Two Foundation and is not connected to the Qatari state. Little or nothing is known of other potential bidders but it is reported that US hedge fund Elliott Management has made a proposal that would involve offering finance to either new bidders or the Glazers.
In conclusion, despite reports that Sheikh Jassim Bin Al Thani and Sir Jim Ratcliffe had made offers for Manchester United before Wednesday night’s deadline, sources close to the Raine Group insist no formal bids from the pair were received. Both parties are expected to ratify their bids by the end of the week, but several other groups interested in buying a smaller percentage of United did meet their deadline. The Glazers are still leaning towards selling a minority shareholding rather than the entire club and any bid would eclipse the world-record fee for a sports club with NFL side the Denver Broncos being sold for £3.75bn last summer currently the record.