- It is widely expected that the Glazer family, the club’s despised owners since 2005, will sell United in the coming months
- Those interested in purchasing United were given a soft deadline of February 17 to confirm their plans
- We look at the bidders for the huge Manchester club
2023 appears to be a year to celebrate for Manchester United fans.
It is widely expected that the Glazer family, the club’s despised owners since 2005, will sell United in the coming months.
According to reports, the Glazers may look to sell all of their shares for around $6 billion (£4.9 billion), though that figure has fluctuated in recent weeks.
Those interested in purchasing United were given a soft deadline of February 17 to confirm their plans.
Raine Group, which facilitated Todd Boehly’s takeover of Chelsea from Roman Abramovich and is in charge of the United sale, has asked all prospective buyers to submit a one-paragraph bid with proof of funds.
We look at the bidders for the huge Manchester club.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe
Sir Jim Ratcliffe is from Oldham, a Manchester United fan, and already owns two football clubs, OGC Nice and Lausanne-Sport, as well as Formula One team Mercedes, through his company Ineos.
He was welcomed as a prospective investor by the Manchester United Supporters Trust after expressing interest in purchasing Chelsea, and there have even been rumours that F1 great Lewis Hamilton could be involved in the bid. He is one of the few people who has made his desire to buy Manchester United public.
His personal fortune surpassed £20 billion three years ago, is said to be working on a proposed takeover package with JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs.
Businessman Michael Knighton, who attempted to buy Manchester United in 1989, is also rumoured to be part of a consortium with Ratcliffe.
According to the Daily Mail, billionaire Twitter owner Elon Musk is staying up to date on the United takeover.
Musk has previously tweeted about wanting to buy the club, so fans have taken his expression of interest with a grain of salt. However, it’s easy to see the appeal.
Musk’s personal wealth is said to have plummeted over the past year due to the poor performance of Tesla stock, but he is still estimated to be worth nearly $190 billion. Acquiring arguably the world’s most famous sports team would be an obvious draw for the SpaceX CEO, who has rarely turned down the opportunity to raise his public profile.
It has been suggested that he could team up with Saudi investors to boost the financial power of any takeover bid.
It has been widely reported in recent weeks that a Qatari investment group, possibly with ties to the Qatari royal family, is preparing to bid for the club.
Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, the Emir of Qatar, is a Manchester United fan and is thought to be pushing for an approach through investors.
Any Qatari bid would be complicated by the fact that Qatar Sports Investments already owns Paris Saint-Germain, and UEFA rules would prohibit the same group from owning United if both clubs were in the Champions League. As a result, any Qatari consortium bidding for United would have to demonstrate that it was distinct from QSI.
There is a widespread belief that any bid from Qatar would dwarf that of almost any other interested party. Indeed, it has been speculated that substantial funds would be made available immediately to upgrade Old Trafford, revamp the club’s training facilities, and bolster Erik ten Hag’s first-team men’s squad. The club has already been linked with Kylian Mbappe.
Josh Harris and David Blitzer
Josh Harris and David Blitzer, minority shareholders in Premier League club Crystal Palace, were tipped to launch a United bid in January.
Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment was one of the companies vying to take over Chelsea from Abramovich, and the opportunity to become United shareholders would be appealing.
Any offer from Harris and Blitzer, however, is expected to be for a minority stake in the club, allowing the Glazers to retain control. Such an arrangement would be highly unpopular among fans, who want the Glazer family to relinquish complete control of the club.