British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe finalised a momentous deal on Sunday, acquiring a long-awaited 25% stake in Manchester United and committing to inject $300 million into the Premier League club to reignite its fortunes. The agreement, marking Ratcliffe’s INEOS group taking charge of the club’s soccer operations, concludes a period of uncertainty following the Glazer family’s announcement in November 2022 regarding potential strategic options.
Ratcliffe, a devoted supporter of the club and a local, expressed his delight at the deal, emphasising his lifelong affiliation, stating, “As a local boy and a lifelong supporter of the club, I am very pleased that we have been able to agree a deal with the Manchester United Board that delegates us management responsibility of the football operations of the club.” He outlined his vision for leveraging INEOS Sport’s global expertise and resources to enhance the club’s performance, stating, “We will bring the global knowledge, expertise, and talent from the wider INEOS Sport group to help drive further improvement at the club.”
The stake purchase valued at $33 per share amounts to $6.3 billion, inclusive of debt, signifying Ratcliffe’s significant investment in the 20-time English champions. Ratcliffe’s investment plan includes an initial $200 million payment upon deal closure, with an additional $100 million slated by the end of 2024.
While Qatar’s Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al Thani had shown interest in acquiring the club, Ratcliffe’s substantial investment led to the former withdrawing from the process with an unrevised $6 billion offer.
Manchester United’s executive chairs, Avram Glazer and Joel Glazer, hailed Ratcliffe’s INEOS and its commitment, highlighting their vast commercial experience and financial dedication. They expressed enthusiasm about INEOS Sport providing access to adept professionals experienced in elite team management, aiming to revive the club’s performance.
The Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST) welcomed Ratcliffe’s investment while raising queries about the new structural changes and seeking clarification regarding the club’s direction and benefits from this collaboration.
Despite recent managerial changes and significant investments, Manchester United has struggled to reclaim its former glory, facing challenges on-field and in European competitions. Ratcliffe, affirming a long-term commitment, acknowledged the anticipated challenges, asserting a collective aspiration to restore Manchester United’s pinnacle status in English and global football.