One of the biggest stories on sports pages at the end of 2022, The American Glazer family, who are the owners of English powerhouse Manchester United, declared in November that they are considering offers to purchase the team. The Glazer family is looking for outside capital to boost expansion, according to a statement from United’s board, which might open the door for a prospective acquisition.
“As part of this process, the board will consider all strategic alternatives, including further investment in the club, a sale or other transactions involving the company,” it said in the announcement.
To oversee potential sales or new investments, the US investment bank Raine Group was retained. The Raine Group oversaw the sale of Chelsea, another Premier League club, to Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital in 2022 for a price of £2.5 billion plus the guarantee of a further investment of £1.75 billion.
The club is still a long way from challenging for the English championship once more, despite positive results under the leadership of Dutch coach Erik ten Hag; according to bookmakers in this list of the top sportsbooks, United is not among the favorites to win the Premier League. The club’s fans, who have been at odds with the Glazer family for years, therefore welcome a radical change in leadership.
Fans of the club, who have long fought to unseat the American family, who also owns the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, will be encouraged by the news. There is, however, still no assurance that the Glazers will cede complete ownership of United.
Following the Glazer family’s announcement that they were considering selling Manchester United as they looked into “strategic alternatives”, Jim Ratcliffe’s company INEOS formally entered the bidding process to purchase the team last week.
These are a few potential purchasers for the Premier League team if the Glazers decide to sell it after all.
Jim Ratcliffe and INEOS formally entered the process
British millionaire Jim Ratcliffe, a devoted supporter of the 20-time English champions, first expressed his interest in the club in August. However, he said that when he approached the Glazers two months later, they informed him that the Premier League club was not for sale.
His firm, INEOS, formally began the bidding process on January 17.
“I can confirm that we have formally put ourselves through the process,” an INEOS spokesman said in a statement last week.
In his unsuccessful effort to purchase the London club Chelsea last year, Ratcliffe ultimately lost out to an investment consortium managed by American Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital.
Although there are concerns that he may be priced out given that some analyst estimates place the club’s worth at over $4.5 billion, Ratcliffe’s name has been frequently raised among United supporters as someone who many would welcome.
Middle Eastern investors also targeting the club
Manchester City, a local rival of United, is funded by the Abu Dhabi United Group, and Newcastle United was acquired for 300 million pounds by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia in 2021. Qatar Sports Investments (QSI) is the owner of Paris St. Germain, and there have been rumors that investors from another Gulf nation may be interested in purchasing United.
United, Tottenham Hotspur, or Liverpool were all mentioned by Bloomberg News as prospective acquisition targets for QSI last week. Tottenham, though, said that “claims that a discussion contemplating the transfer of shares in the club had taken place” were untrue.
The desire of Saudi Arabia to acquire United was confirmed to Sky Sports by Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, the country’s minister of sports. Ratcliffe’s INEOS entering the auction was initially reported by The Times newspaper, which also stated that interest from the United States and Asia is also anticipated.
A plan to purchase the club was put on hold in 2010 by the Red Knights, a group that included former English Football League chair Keith Harris, Jim O’Neill, who was then the chief economist at Goldman Sachs, and British investor Paul Marshall, because of “speculation in the media of inflated valuation aspirations”.
In 2021, after the club’s disastrous attempt to join a European Super League had drawn significant condemnation, O’Neill and Marshall sent a letter to United co-chairman Joel Glazer requesting quick corporate governance improvements. O’Neill would think about going for a takeover, but only if the Glazers decrease their present “unrealistic” demands, according to a November story in The Manchester Evening News. O’Neill responded to the BBC’s question about if he needed to raise $4 billion to purchase United: “I’m not sure if it’ll necessarily be that much, but let’s see”.