Fresh revelations have emerged regarding Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al-Thani’s bid to acquire Manchester United, suggesting that the online PR surrounding the Qatari royal’s offer was inflated compared to the actual bid.
In the competition against Sir Jim Ratcliffe to become the new custodian of United, Sheikh Jassim, via the Nine Two Foundation, had initially presented a bid lower than the publicized figures. The Qatari delegation withdrew from the process in October 2023, allowing Ratcliffe to secure a 25% investment in United, a deal yet to be ratified by the Premier League.
Despite the delays in the takeover, discussions between Ratcliffe and the Glazers have been described as positive, and the British businessman has engaged with various stakeholders, including staff, Erik ten Hag, senior officials, and players.
The document indicates that disagreements over the possession of Class A and Class B shares were the primary reason for the takeover delays. Ratcliffe initially sought to buy all Class B shares, holding real voting powers, while minority shareholders with Class A shares wanted due compensation if the club was sold.
After multiple rounds of talks, Ratcliffe’s commitment to Class B shares decreased to 60%, then 40%, ultimately settling at 25% of both Class A and Class B shares. As a result, the petrochemicals billionaire now holds a 27.69% ownership interest and a 28.71% voting interest.
Ben Jacobs revealed details about Sheikh Jassim’s bid, emphasizing that the Qatar bid consistently failed to provide customary financing commitment letters and lacked pledged investment. Contrary to publicized figures, the Qatari offer did not match the PR.
The document stressed the Board’s insistence on equal per-share consideration for A and B shares, a requirement not met by the Qatar bid. Ratcliffe, however, agreed to this structure in July 2023.
Jacobs pointed out that the reality of Qatar’s offer did not reach the widely mentioned $5 billion mark, and some argued that the pledged investment figure was added to the offer price to create an inflated number.
In the end, Ratcliffe, recognized as the most serious bidder, secured the investment, shedding light on the contrasting realities of Sheikh Jassim’s bid.