Manchester United takeover explained: Bidders, how much the club will cost and outcome as deadline passes

Manchester United takeover explained: Bidders, how much the club will cost and outcome as deadline passes

The deadline has passed for the final round of Manchester United’s takeover bids, with the Qatari consortium fronted by Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad and INEOS owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe still the frontrunners to buy the club.

The Glazers have been held a stake in United since March 2003, becoming majority owners in June 2005. The club’s failure to continue their stranglehold on English football since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement as manager in 2013 has raised United supporters’ concerns and frustrations with the Glazers in the past decade.

As a result, the majority of United fans are eager to see the Glazers sell up, with the takeover process becoming fairly long and drawn-out in recent weeks.

Who is interested in buying Manchester United?

Ratcliffe – the UK’s richest man (worth £6.07bn) – is the homegrown choice to become United’s new owner having declared his intention to buy the club some time ago. The Oldham-born billionaire is a former Chelsea season-ticket holder but is a boyhood United fan. He owns the INEOS Group, a British chemical company and it’s through INEOS that he is bidding to take over the club. He is said to have convinced UK banking behemoths JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs to back him.

Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), who own Paris Saint-Germain as well as the Shard and Harrods, are also in the running. UEFA bans parties from owning multiple clubs, but PSG were purchased by a separate arm, Qatar Sports Investments. That gives the Sheikh Jassim-backed QIA — with a public wealth worth £400bn — the green light to take over United. The latest reports claim the Qatari bid, reported to be have tipped past £5bn for the bid ahead of Friday’s 10pm deadline.

Both Ratcliffe and Sheikh Jassim are understood to have offered less than the Glazers’ £6bn valuation of United. The process is complicated by the fact Ratcliffe is thought to want to acquire just over 50 per cent of the club, leaving the Glazers as minority stakeholders, whereas the Qatari bid is for 100 per-cent control.

Other reported bids, including from Elon Musk, a consortium from Saudi Arabia and from Finnish businessman Thomas Zilliacus are not expected to be successful.

The third more viable option may be that the Glazers keep more than 50 per cent of the club and accept investment from the American hedge fund groups Elliott or Carlyle. The Raine Group is overseeing the takeover process on behalf of the Glazers.

How much is Manchester United likely to cost?

The Glazers want to entertain offers around up to the £6bn mark. However, the New York Stock Exchange considers United to be worth £2.9bn, with its maximum value only £3.2bn. PSG cost just £60m when purchased by QSI in 2011, and a sale of Manchester United to the tune of £2.9bn would fall short of the £4.25bn that Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali paid for Chelsea last year.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

When is the deadline for takeover bids?

The initial deadline set by the Glazers for the first round of bids was on Friday, February 17. There was then a second round after the major consortiums met with United staff members, including chief executive Richard Arnold. Finally, Friday’s deadline signalled the end of the bidding process.

When could a deal to go through?

That is all up to the Glazers. They are very much in the driving seat and have never said explicitly that they are definitely going to sell the club. The timeframe has already become a little more protracted than many United fans wanted, but could be finalised before the end of the season.

Chelsea’s sale took only three months, but that was particularly fast due to previous owner Roman Abramovich’s unique personal situation at the time. A Manchester United sale would almost certainly take longer.