Monaco resident and Britain’s richest man Sir Jim Ratcliffe has submitted a colossal 1.3 billion pounds bid for a 25 percent stake in Premier League club Manchester United, following the news that Qatari businessman Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al Thani had withdrawn from the race to buy the club.
The Qatari offer, which valued United at over five billion pounds, was believed to be the only bid for 100 percent of the club. Sheikh Jassim’s final offer was not satisfactory for the club’s owners, the Glazer family, despite being far more than the club’s 3.3 billion dollar valuation on the New York Stock Exchange.
Steeped in history and success, United are undoubtedly among the world’s most famous clubs. However, the Premier League team is not what it once was, a decline that many supporters of the club attribute to the American Glazer family, which has owned United since their takeover for under 800 million pounds in 2005.
Complaints soon turned into protests, with many chanting “Glazers out!” in front of and within Old Trafford. The club is now in need of some serious TLC, both in terms of infrastructure and from a purely footballing perspective, as the team that was once the one to beat currently occupies 10th place in the Premier League table.
Sheikh Jassim’s offer would have made United the most expensive sports team in history by at least 200 million pounds, but this still was not enough for the Glazers, whose own valuation of the club stands at a whopping 6 billion pounds. United fans are upset
Preferring to keep a majority stake, the Glazer family has decided to go down the Ratcliffe route, as the Brit and his company INEOS wish to take on 25 percent of the club and take control of its football operations in what could be the first step of a phased takeover.
Ratcliffe’s INEOS company already has significant involvement in other football teams and indeed other sports entirely. Ratcliffe owns AS Monaco’s neighbouring rivals OGC Nice and Swiss side FC Lausanne-Sport, while also having a 33 percent stake in the highly successful Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula 1 team and owning the also successful INEOS Britannia sailing team and INEOS Grenadiers cycling team.
It may appear that Ratcliffe has his hands full, but he has fought hard to takeover United, his boyhood club.
Featured image: Monaco resident and Britain’s richest man Jim Ratcliffe in the Stade Louis II