British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe officially enters race to buy Manchester United from Glazers
Neither of the two leading bids for Manchester United, fronted by the Qatari banker Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani and Sir Jim Ratcliffe, submitted their improved offers for the club by Wednesday’s deadline, The Independent understands.
Both parties had until 9pm to submit their offers but have instead asked for an extension, which they were granted. It is understood both groups will submit their second, improved bids on Thursday, with the offers for the club expected to be more than £5bn.
Ratcliffe’s INEOS group and the bid fronted by Sheikh Jassim were expected to submit their offers in advance of the deadline, but in a dramatic twist it emerged the Raine group received neither offer. An extension to the process has been granted, however, and both Ratcliffe and Sheikh Jassim both intend to meet the new deadline.
The Glazers, who bought Manchester United for £790m in 2005 and saddled the club with debt, want around £6bn, which would be a record fee for a football club. Follow all the latest updates on the takeover below:
Manchester United bidder INEOS identifies new sporting director if takeover successful
The recruitment expert has confirmed he is leaving his role at Monaco, and is primarily looking for a return to England.
The Independent has been told that there had been initial explorations from Liverpool for Mitchell to become their sporting director as they undergo an overhaul of staff around Jurgen Klopp but it has now been clarified he is out of the running.
The Anfield club have faced an upheaval in their technical staff over the last year, with Michael Edwards leaving in the summer and Julian Ward now set to follow – but could now find themselves in competition for major figures with United.
Michael Jones23 March 2023 16:36
Will the Glazers actually sell Manchester United?
The Glazer family say that will definitely sell Manchester United if the right price comes in from one of the prospective bidders. The current asking prcie from the Glazers is believed to be £6bn.
The two frontrunners, Sheikh Jassim and Sir Jim Ratcliffe are believed to have tabled bids worth £4.5bn in the first round of the takeover process.
Should the Glazers valuation not be met they could raise capital for investment in the club and pay down its debt.
It cannot be rueld out that the Glazers will keep control of United by agreeing a minority deal, with the team’s performances improving dramatically and a new strategy now in place.
Michael Jones23 March 2023 16:30
Multi-club ownership damages ‘integrity’ of football, warns A22 chief
Football is vulnerable to Formula One-style team orders without strict rules on multi-club ownership, according to the man leading plans for a new European Super League.
Multi-club ownership is in the spotlight at the moment with Manchester United currently in the sights of INEOS, which also owns French club Nice.
Concerns have also been raised over Qatari interest in the Red Devils, though sources close to Sheikh Jassim, who has publicly confirmed his interest in buying United, deny there is any link between him and the Qatar Sports Investments group which owns Paris St Germain.
UEFA rules bar clubs playing in the same competition in the same season if they are controlled by the same individual or entity, but its financial experts decided in 2017 there was sufficient separation between Red Bull-owned Leipzig and Salzburg to allow them to enter the Champions League together.
Michael Jones23 March 2023 16:22
Man Utd charged by FA for surrounding referee during Fulham FA Cup tie
Manchester United have been charged by the Football Association for surrounding referee Chris Kavanagh in Sunday’s fiery FA Cup quarter-final win over Fulham.
United’s players appealed to the referee for a handball after Kavanagh originally awarded a corner when Willian blocked Jadon Sancho’s shot on the line – a decision which sparked a chaotic few minutes.
Kavanagh changed his decision after checking the pitchside monitor and sent Willian off before being pushed by Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic, who was also dismissed along with Cottagers boss Marco Silva.
Both Silva and Mitrovic have already been sanctioned by the FA, with the latter facing a lengthy suspension, and United have now also been charged over the behaviour of their players at Old Trafford.
Michael Jones23 March 2023 16:13
What is the issue with PSG’s Qatari ownership?
Sheikh Jassim is said to be financing his bid for Manchster United via private wealth but his family has close links to Qatar’s ruling elite and this has raised questions about the source his funding.
His father had controlled the money at the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) for years. The QIA is the £370 billion fund which helps to back Paris Saint-Germain through its subsidiary Qatar Sports Investment (QSI).
Sheikh Jassim’s bid group has repeatedly claimed the funding for the club is independent of the QIA. Last week they assured United that they are confident the rules prohibiting clubs with the same owner playing in the same competition would not be broken.
Should that claim turn out to be false then PSG and Manchester United would be not allowed to both compete in the Champions League for example.
However, even if state funding was proven, Uefa president Alesander Ceferin may be willing to look the other way. He said this month that European football’s governing body was considering a rule change that would allow clubs with the same owner to play in the Champions League simultaneously.
Michael Jones23 March 2023 16:05
Greed has brought football to the brink of implosion – now the entire structure could collapse
Back in the early 1990s, a group of European football figures travelled to the United States for advice on how to grow the game, only to be given a warning by one of the American sports officials.
“If you think you’ve got problems now, wait until you start making money.”
It was counsel that has come to archly describe football in 2023.
The game’s giddy embrace of late-stage capitalism has made it an immense financial and cultural force, to the point the major American sports are now said to be “petrified” of its growing US influence ahead of the 2026 World Cup. The build-up to that, and the sport’s final and full global takeover, might nevertheless bring a breaking point in football history. That is because – as with so much in late-stage capitalism – the opulent top end is better off than ever before but the wider health of the rest has never been worse. The game has grown to a size where it is this gleaming cultural monolith but one filled with several structural faultlines.
Some of these have been revealed and widened by major stories of the last few weeks, only signalling how close we may be to something very significant.
Michael Jones23 March 2023 15:56
Who’s in the running to buy Manchester United?
Sheikh Jassim of Qatar and Sir Jim Ratcliffe are the faces of the two most public bids for Manchester United but up to eight interested parties toured Old Trafford and the Carrington training ground last week.
Elliott Investment Management, a US hedge fund, are known to have contacted Raine – the bank handling the sale for the Glazer family. They’re offer is to help finance any takeover and have indicated it would give assistance to the Glazers should a sale fail to materialise.
In that outcome Joel and Avram Glazer could potentially buy out their other siblings, as has been one rumoured option, though that borrowing would likely be leveraged against the club as opposed to the two individuals and would not go down well at all with Manchester United fans.
Other investment groups — including Ares Management, which refused to comment on its involvement — are thought to have also offered their capital to potential bidders and the Glazer family.
Finnish businessman Thomas Zilliacus has launched a surprise, unconventional bid to buy Manchester United that would allow supporters a degree of control in the club. The 69-year-old, founder of investment company Mobile FutureWorks Group, is based in Singapore and involved in a wide range of business globally.
Michael Jones23 March 2023 15:48
Elliott Management enter the fray to buy Manchester United
Elliott Management have made an offer to buy a minority stake of Manchester United, potentially changing the landscape of the sale. The Independent has been told the bid, which was submitted before Wednesday night’s 9pm deadline, is for a small stake in the club.
Figures involved with the process have long maintained that the Glazers staying on with such a deal is an option that cannot be ruled out.
The Independent had been told three weeks ago that Elliott was planning a bid for a minority stake, only for the group to say that was “categorically untrue”. While it is maintained that the offer was only decided upon after a tour of United last Thursday, numerous sources insist it has been considered for some time.
The controversial investment group previously owned AC Milan and the move into English football is understood to represent a developing policy on the UK arm of the business.
Michael Jones23 March 2023 15:40
Fan investment and app voting: Finnish entrepreneur’s unique bid to buy Man Utd
The 69-year-old, founder of investment company Mobile FutureWorks Group, is based in Singapore and involved in a wide range of business globally.
His offer is, according to Zilliacus, based on “equality with the fans”.
A former owner of clubs in Finland and Singapore, Zilliacus has suggested he is able to finance half of a bid for the club, with the other half contributed by fans via a newly-formed company.
Were Zilliacus’s offer to be successful, an app would give Manchester United supporters who invested the ability to vote on footballing matters related to the Old Trafford club.
Michael Jones23 March 2023 15:32
Sir Jim Ratcliffe could bring in financial backers to boost bid
Sir Jim Ratcliffe is reportedly considering a number of other financial backers to help him beat Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani in the Manchester United takeover race.
The Qatari banker is the current frontrunner to complete a takeover of the club though Ratcliffe seeks to bring in other parties to bolster his position following an extension to Wednesday’s 9pm soft deadline.
The Daily Mail reports that the petrochemical billionaire interest in other parties is to try and increase the scope of his bid with second bids likely to surpass the £5bn mark.
Michael Jones23 March 2023 15:23
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