Sheikh Jassim and Jim Ratcliffe given Wednesday night deadline for new Man Utd offers
Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani and Sir Jim Ratcliffe have until Wednesday evening to submit their second takeover bids for Manchester United.
Raine, the merchant bank running the process on behalf of the Glazers, have set a 9pm BST deadline for second offers. It is understood that opening bids for the club fell short of the Glazers £5 billion plus asking price.
But Sheikh Jassim and Ratcliffe - and other interested parties involved in the process - will now have the chance to present fresh offers following talks in Manchester last week. Sources close to the Sheikh Jassim team said that any revised bid will be informed by the very productive and positive discussions they held over 10 hours with United last Thursday.
Sheikh Jassim did not attend in person but the Qatari delegation included Shahzad Shahbaz, who is president of the newly created NineTwo foundation which would run the club. Also in attendance was Fady Bakhos, a senior personal advisor to the Sheikh, Sam Powers, a global head at Bank of America who are advising their bid, Yasir Shah, managing director at Bank of America and lawyers from firm Macfarlanes.
Ratcliffe has insisted he will not be sucked into paying a “stupid” price for United and says his interest in buying the club is being driven by a desire to “win things”.
Sheikh Jassim is proposing a completely debt free takeover; Ratcliffe has said his bid will not add to the existing debt levels.
Yet Ratcliffe, while refusing to discuss the financial details of his bid, told the Wall Street Journal in an interview that he would not be paying a “stupid” figure that would cause regret down the line.
“How do you decide the price of a painting? How do you decide the price of a house? It’s not related to how much it cost to build or how much it cost to paint,” Ratcliffe said. “What you don’t want to do is pay stupid prices for things because then you regret it subsequently.”
A lifelong United fan who was at the Nou Camp to see Sir Alex Ferguson’s beat Bayern Munich 2-1 in dramatic circumstances in 1999 to complete a historic treble, Ratcliffe, who hails from Oldham, said his motives for buying the club were born of a desire for on pitch success.
“Our interest in that club would be purely in winning things,” he said.
The Glazers have been subjected to widespread protests and fan fury over the money that has poured out of the club to service their leveraged takeover and line their own pockets. Ratcliffe said he regarded United as a “community asset” rather than a financial one.
Ratcliffe admitted the pursuit of United was different to many of his other business investments. “That in a sense goes without saying, because sport is emotional,” he added.
Ratcliffe spoke to United manager Erik ten Hag and chief executive Richard Arnold in Manchester last week. The Ineos team turned out in force. In addition to Ratcliffe, Sir David Brailsford – the former British Cycling chief who is now director of sport at Ineos – was also present, along with Ineos co-owners Andy Currie and John Reece.
Ineos Sport chair Rob Nevin and Jean Claude Blanc, who joined Ineos Sport as chief executive only last month, were also there to listen to presentations on "opportunities and challenges" at the club.