A club statement involving words from the Glazer family has confirmed Man Utd is up for sale, though the divisive American owners may yet retain control.
The Glazer family could potentially be following Cristiano Ronaldo out of Manchester United after opening the door to a sale of the club.
Just a couple of hours after their most high-profile asset’s mutually agreed departure following his explosive interview with Piers Morgan came news of far more significance for fans long opposed to the unpopular American owners.
After 17 years in charge the Glazers now seem prepared to relinquish control after the club announced it was “exploring strategic alternatives” which do include a sale.
United said the board of directors were starting a process “designed to enhance the club’s future growth” with the intention of maximising opportunities on and off the pitch.
Man Utd sale not guaranteed; new investment partners possible
A club statement read: “As part of this process, the board will consider all strategic alternatives, including new investment into the club, a sale, or other transactions involving the company.
“This will include an assessment of several initiatives to strengthen the club, including stadium and infrastructure redevelopment, and expansion of the club’s commercial operations on a global scale, each in the context of enhancing the long-term success of the club’s men’s, women’s and academy teams and bringing benefits to fans and other stakeholders.”
The Glazers took over at United with a £790million leveraged buy-out in 2005 but their tenure has faced significant opposition from supporters, which has grown in recent years with the club having not won the Premier League since 2013.
If they decide not to sell they could still look for an investment partner to raise capital in order to fund a much-needed redevelopment of Old Trafford.
Glazers speak out
“We will evaluate all options to ensure that we best serve our fans and that Manchester United maximises the significant growth opportunities available to the club today and in the future,” said executive co-chairmen and directors Avram and Joel Glazer.
“Throughout this process we will remain fully focused on serving the best interests of our fans, shareholders and various stakeholders.”
The Raine Group, which facilitated the sale of Chelsea over the summer, is acting as United’s exclusive financial advisor, with Rothschild and Co performing the same role to the Glazer family shareholders.
While the Glazers’ apparent willingness to consider a sale having faced many years of fan protests – which have escalated in the last couple of years with the club’s involvement in the failed European Super League provoking particular anger – will be welcomed, United stress there are no guarantees.
“There can be no assurance that the review being undertaken will result in any transaction involving the company,” added the statement.
Owners of arch-rivals Liverpool, Fenway Sports Group – also based in the United States – are currently exploring similar options for the whole or partial sale of a club bought in 2010 for £300m.
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