The The third day of the World Cup Qatar took place. Manchester United’s press office announced that its American owners were exploring an end game they had long refused to even consider: a potential sale Of the famed English soccer league.
The speculation swirling about who may buy has continued every day since November 11. United, one of the world’s most popular and most valuable sports teams, has gathered pace.
It was also from Qatar. Investors have been rumored to be interested in the country for several weeks. United to the country’s expanding sports portfolio, where details of the first official bid appeared. And just like that, the fight for the club’s future, a Battle of different visions of what type of Manchester United The auction was over.
The Official word on concrete Qatari interest has arrived a statement on Friday night: an all-cash offer — reportedly worth as much as $6 billion — by Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani, a This little-known monarch may have more power in his position as chairman a Great Qatari bank, and his influence from his father. a Former prime minister that helped to put the small country on the international stage.
Sheikh Jassim’s statement offered populism, or at least what sounded like a Gulf billionaire’s vision of it. Pledging to invest United’s stadium and its teams without adding a His five-paragraph declaration read as follows: Dollar to its debts a Box-ticking in the pursuit of support for proposals that would win over the Glazers family, which has held the Premier League superpower for almost two decades.
But Sheikh Jassim’s suggestion of a “debt-free” The takeover was also not intended to conceal the financial strength behind the deal that would be made UnitedIn a matter of seconds, you can see the highest-profile Qatari-owned property anywhere on Earth.
The public presentation caught other bidders off guard. Raine was the representative of the investment bank that handled the sale. United’s board and the Glazer family, had asked prospective buyers to limit any public pronouncements, perhaps to entice as many offers as possible, or at the very least to avoid scaring off any suitors.
The That was quickly changed by the Qatari offer, which led to Jim Ratcliffe being the second highest bidder. a British billionaire in petrochemicals based Monte Carlo to confirm, first privately then publically that he offered 69 percent. UnitedThe club’s total ownership by Glazers.
Ratcliffe made the following point United Fans can choose an English option to Gulf ownership. Manchester Born and a lifelong United Ratcliffe has promised to place a fan “the Manchester back into Manchester United,” To revive a club not to foreign interest but to “its proud history and roots in the northwest of England.”
The Split the difference immediately between competing offers United Fan base with many international supporters eagerly awaiting social media a sale that they hoped would see Qatar’s deep pockets do for Manchester United What billions of dollars are made from the United Arab Emirates did for their neighbor Manchester City. That sentiment did not appear to be shared by much of the club’s matchgoing supporters, with concerns raised by fan groups in England about everything from human rights to sporting integrity.
The latter may prove to be the more formidable obstacle, because Sheikh Jassim and Ratcliffe can expect to face scrutiny under rules set by European soccer’s governing body, UEFA, that prohibit teams with the same owner from playing in top continental competitions like the Champions League.
Ratcliffe already owns OGC Nice, which plays in France’s top league and has drawn some of his fortune to finance its push toward European qualification.
Sheikh Jassim must convince soccer regulators that his interests differ from the Qatari group running Paris St.-Germain, a perennial champion league contender. Sheikh Jassim’s father was, with the country’s former emir, one of the architects of Qatar’s vision of itself as a player on the global stage, and one of the driving forces behind its flashy purchases of showcase assets like another British institution, the department store Harrods, and the Shard, Britain’s tallest building. The father’s close links to the country’s leadership already have raised doubts that his son’s pursuit of United This is just a Private investment
Ratcliffe or Sheikh Jassim might soon have to face additional challenges. Friday’s deadline for bids was an artificial one, confected by United’s bankers to create urgency. There may be other bids, but newer (or possibly better) offers can still go out.
But one thing all the bids — public, secret or still to come — may benefit from is near universal agreement among United Fans of all stripes believe that the club shouldn’t be managed by the notoriously unpopular Glazers. The The team was purchased by a family member in a It was a highly controversial deal that it struck in 2005, where the bulk of its purchase price was used against the club. United The family has paid hundreds of millions to acquire the right to own the property.
While the deal was terribly frustrating for supporters, it has proven to be extremely profitable for Glazers. The family already has a secure financial future through dividend and fees. a Return far greater than the initial direct investmenta A small fraction of the approximately $1.4 million purchase price in that period. The club’s value has skyrocketed, with news media reports suggesting the family is now seeking as much as $7 billion to part with it.
This price level will reduce the number of owners who are interested in purchasing a home. One potential buyer was interviewed The Sunday Review: Nothing close to this figure was reported last Sunday “madness,” He stated that the group that he was part of had left because they believe that UnitedThe debt amounting to nearly $600million is still outstanding. Its current value, at 3 billion pounds or $3.6 billion, does not exceed 3.
Raine United’s owners have entrusted the job of soliciting offers to a Bank with a Recently, buyers are more willing to pay higher than market prices. The firm, led by the New York banker Joe Ravitch, secured £2.5 billion (about $3 billion) last year in the sale for Chelsea. However, there was more to it. a forced sale, one sparked by British government sanctions against Chelsea’s Russian owner, Roman Abramovich, shortly after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The Glazers do not face similar pressure. They are looking for bidding opportunities United It was meant to be a joke. “explore strategic alternatives for the club.”
It means they can offer whatever their billionaires have to offer and promise whatever they want, no matter where they are located. Manchester United Will be available only at a The Glazers will accept a price.