Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani’s final bid of no more than £6bn for Manchester United will remain live even if the Glazers fail to respond to it by the Qatari’s self-imposed deadline of Friday.
The banker and his advisers have become frustrated by a process that began when United’s American owners put the club up for potential sale in November and that has led him to make five offers.
On Wednesday the Guardian was told this had moved Sheikh Jassim to decide that Friday was the endpoint for any engagement and that he would walk away if his bid was not accepted. It has now emerged that this will not be the case.
One possibility regarding Sheikh Jassim’s ultimatum is that he fears losing out to Sir Jim Ratcliffe, the only other publicly declared bidder who wishes to purchase a controlling interest in United, and so the improved offer was a final attempt to become proprietor.
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Ratcliffe, the Ineos owner, wants to acquire about 51% of United and potentially leave one or more of the Glazers with a minority share. Ineos has reportedly been in talks with the Glazers over the structure of such an agreement but it is understood the company does not believe a deal is imminent.