According to new sources, the Qatari bidders wanting to acquire Manchester United are sure they are the favorites to take over from the Glazers, although the American family has yet to reveal whether they would sell or keep the club.
The two primary contenders vying to become United’s new majority stakeholder are Qatari banker Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani and British businessman Sir Jim Ratcliffe. However, there has been no movement in the takeover struggle in recent weeks.
The Glazer family and the Raine Group, who are managing the sale, have yet to determine which bid is preferred. The Glazers seek roughly £6 billion for United, but the highest bids have been around £5 billion.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe, CEO of INEOS, has offered an offer in which the Glazer brothers Joel and Avram would retain a 20% ownership in United. Other US investment firms, such as Elliott Management, are offering minor investments to allow the Glazers to keep control while receiving additional funds.
According to a Bloomberg financial article, the Glazers will decide ‘imminently’ whether to sell or stay in power. According to the source, if Sheikh Jassim does not hear back soon, it is a ‘strong hint’ that the existing owners do not want to sell.
Such a choice would enrage United fans, the vast majority of whom want the Americans to quit the club. Since a leveraged purchase in 2005, the Glazers have overseen a 10-year drought without a Premier League title at Old Trafford.
Sheikh Jassim’s personal fortune is estimated to be over £900 million, but his family’s fortune is estimated to be around £275 billion. Sir Jim Ratcliffe has an estimated net worth of £29.6 billion as of May 2023. He is the INEOS chemicals group’s chairman and CEO.
With the Qataris agreeing to erase the club’s debts, a takeover before the summer transfer window closes might allow United to make further acquisitions. Sheikh Jassim, 41, the son of a former Qatari prime minister, declared his intentions for the Red Devils in a statement in February.
“The bid will be completely debt free through Sheikh Jassim’s Nine Two Foundation, which will look to invest in the football teams, training center, stadium and wider infrastructure, fan experience, and the communities the Club supports,” a spokesperson stated.
“The bid envisions Manchester United Football Club as the greatest football club in the world, renowned for footballing excellence.” More information about the bid will be made available as the bid process progresses.”