The ongoing Manchester United takeover saga, led by Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s £1.3 billion bid for a 25% stake, faces prolonged uncertainty, possibly extending into the next year.
Despite being on the verge for weeks, the deal continues to experience setbacks beyond Sir Jim’s control, as the Glazer family, initiating a strategic review over a year ago, appears reluctant to finalize the agreement until potential legal matters are resolved.
Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani, initially vying for a full sale, withdrew his £5 billion bid in October, realizing the Glazer’s reluctance to part ways with a majority stake.
Consequently, Sir Jim emerged as the leading contender to secure the deal, intending to grant the Glazer siblings a majority stake while transferring sporting control to INEOS.
However, continuous delays in confirming Sir Jim’s 25% stake at Old Trafford may extend into the next year, causing frustration for the 71-year-old INEOS founder.
Despite both parties maintaining interest and the intention to proceed with the deal, ongoing legal matters are reportedly causing the delays.
As Sir Jim’s wait persists, the possibility of Sheikh Jassim making a comeback remains, fueled by reports that the Qatari banker is exploring potential investments in football.
His interest extends to Serie A, with talks about a possible investment in Inter Milan on the horizon. Inter’s owner, Stevan Zhang, currently dealing with legal issues and debt repayments, could benefit from Sheikh Jassim’s financial backing.
While Sir Jim faces an extended wait for his minority stake at Manchester United, the potential entry of Sheikh Jassim into the football world adds another layer of uncertainty.
The Glazers, mindful of the need for investment, may feel pressure to conclude the deal, with expectations that the Failsworth-born tycoon will eventually assume control of the football operations at Old Trafford, possibly by next summer.