Man Utd takeover: Bidder refutes ‘allegations’ and the Glazer’s ‘priority’ gives them ‘confidence’

Man Utd takeover Credit: Alamy
Man Utd takeover Credit: Alamy

According to Ben Jacobs, Sheikh Jassim’s Nine Two Foundation are ‘taking confidence’ from the long drawn-out Man Utd takeover process.

Sheikh Jassim and INEOS’ Sir Jim Ratcliffe are the main contenders in the running to become the new majority stakeholder of Man Utd.

The Glazer family put the club up for sale last November. There have been three rounds of bidding but a preferred bidder is yet to be named ahead of this summer’s transfer window.

It is been indicated in recent months that Ratcliffe is ahead of Sheikh Jassim in the race for Man Utd and this forced the Qatari businessman to submit a ‘final improved offer’ to the Glazer family.

Journalist Jacobs has confirmed to Caught Offside that there is ‘still no preferred bidder’ for Man Utd but he has broken down Ratcliffe’s ‘flexible’ offer.

‘Sir Jim Ratcliffe has valued the club at around £5.2bn ($6.5bn) and his offer is for control. It’s flexible,’ Jacobs wrote for Caught Offside.

‘One option could see Joel and Avram remain as minority shareholders, but without their Class B voting power. Ratcliffe is also quite prepared to buy all the Glazers shares (69%) as well.’

Jacobs later added that Ratcliffe has been ‘cautiously optimistic for a number of weeks’ but Sheikh Jassim have not ‘been rejected or removed from the process’.

Sheikh Jassim and Raine Group are said to have butted heads of late but ‘accusations of their offer being misrepresented and firmly inflated’ have been ‘firmly denied’.

‘The priority right now is to either proceed with one of those groups (Ratcliffe or Sheikh Jassim) or rule them both out before engaging further with other groups (minority investors),’ Jacobs added.

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‘Sir Jim Ratcliffe has been cautiously optimistic for a number of weeks, but there are also some close to the process that still refer to INEOS as a ‘stalking horse’ to try and drive up the price. This shows the kind of competing narratives at play.

‘Nine Two Foundation take some confidence from the fact that Ratcliffe hasn’t been named preferred bidder despite suggestions for weeks that this was the direction of travel. Despite a bit of friction between themselves and Raine Group, and accusations of their offer being misrepresented, and falsely inflated by pledged investment (which is firmly denied on the Qatar side), Nine Two Foundation haven’t been rejected and removed from the process. Some sources believe this is telling.

‘There are still a lot of games taking place, and behind-the-scenes talks as well which are less formal than at previous stages of the process. Both Nine Two Foundation and INEOS are desperately hoping for clarity as soon as possible.’

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