Qatar’s Sheikh Jassim refuses to raise $6 billion Manchester United bid, sources say

Qatar’s Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al Thani has made a bold decision regarding his bid to acquire the iconic soccer club, Manchester United Plc. After months of negotiations, Sheikh Jassim has informed the Glazer family, who currently control the club, that he will not be improving his offer of more than $6 billion. This surprising move has left Ineos Chair Jim Ratcliffe, the remaining bidder, in a stronger position.

Ratcliffe’s bid, which involves purchasing a 25% stake in the club, allowing some of the Glazers to cash out, is rumored to be higher than Sheikh Jassim’s offer. While the exact value of Ratcliffe’s bid remains undisclosed, sources suggest that it exceeds Sheikh Jassim’s $6 billion offer. This development has sparked anticipation as Ratcliffe’s deal may be announced later this month, according to the Wall Street Journal.

If Ratcliffe’s bid is successful, he will oversee the team’s operations and talent acquisition, while the Glazers will continue to manage the commercial side of the business. This potential arrangement presents an exciting opportunity for Manchester United, as Ratcliffe’s expertise and resources could contribute to the club’s future success.

Although Sheikh Jassim’s bid will not move forward, he had previously pledged to invest over $1.7 billion in Manchester United upon acquisition. While he still desires a deal, he has concluded that it is futile to continue participating in the bidding process after nine months of unsuccessful negotiations. It is worth noting that Sheikh Jassim’s bid did not involve any debt and would have helped pay down the club’s existing debt pile, which amounts to over $600 million.

The Glazer family, renowned for their success in real estate, retail, and healthcare, purchased Manchester United in 2005 for £790 million ($960 million). With a controlling stake of 96% of the club’s voting stock, the six descendants of the late Malcolm Glazer have been exploring options to cash out on their ownership since November 2022.

Manchester United, a record 20-time English champion, boasts a massive fan base of over 650 million worldwide, according to market research firm Kantar. Many fans have been vocal about their desire for a change in ownership, as the Glazers’ tenure has coincided with a decline in the club’s fortunes. Since legendary manager Alex Ferguson’s departure in 2013, the team has only secured the League Cup under Erik ten Hag this season, finishing third in the league, a significant 14 points behind local rivals and treble winners Manchester City.

As the bidding process for Manchester United continues, the potential infusion of new ownership and resources brings hope for a brighter future. Fans and stakeholders eagerly await further developments, anticipating positive changes that could revitalize the club and restore its former glory.

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