Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al Thani of Qatar has reportedly decided not to revise his offer to acquire Manchester United Plc, despite earlier expressing interest in purchasing the iconic soccer club for over $6 billion. This development places Ineos Chairman Jim Ratcliffe, the other remaining bidder for Manchester United, in a potentially stronger position. Ratcliffe had proposed acquiring a 25% stake in the club, allowing some of the Glazer family to cash out. The exact value of Ratcliffe’s bid for Manchester United remains undisclosed, but sources suggest it surpasses Sheikh Jassim’s offer.
Manchester United is currently valued at $3.3 billion in the stock market, so Ratcliffe’s bid is apparently considerably higher, although specific figures have not been confirmed.
Sheikh Jassim, who had initially pledged to invest more than $1.7 billion in the club following the acquisition, has conveyed to the Glazer family that further negotiations appear futile after nine months of unsuccessful talks. Importantly, it’s noted that Sheikh Jassim’s bid wouldn’t have relied on debt and would have paid down the club’s existing debt of over $600 million.
The Glazers, who made their fortune in various sectors including real estate, retail, and healthcare, own the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers in addition to Manchester United. They acquired the club for £790 million ($960 million) in 2005 and control 96% of Manchester United’s voting stock. In November 2022, the club announced the Glazers’ exploration of cashing out on their ownership.
Manchester United, a 20-time English champion, boasts over 650 million fans worldwide, according to market research firm Kantar. Many of these fans have voiced their desire for a change of ownership due to perceived declines in the club’s performance under the Glazers’ ownership. While the club won the League Cup this season under manager Erik ten Hag, their third-place finish in the league, significantly behind local rivals Manchester City, highlights the need for a substantial turnaround. The club’s last Premier League title was in the 2012–13 season, during the tenure of former manager Sir Alex Ferguson.