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Who is buying Manchester United? Sir Jim Ratcliffe minority stake confirmed by NYSE | Sporting News

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 Sir Jim Ratcliffe has emerged with a victory of sorts in the Manchester United takeover saga.

On February 20, after Ratcliffe’s INEOS operation had already made their presence felt with key appointments such as incoming CEO Omar Berrada at Old Trafford, the British billionaire’s acquisition of 25% of United’s Class A and Class B shares was confirmed by the New York Stock Exchange.

“To become co-owner of Manchester United is a great honour and comes with great responsibility,” Ratcliffe said. “This marks the completion of the transaction, but just the beginning of our journey to take Manchester United back to the top of English, European and world football, with world-class facilities for our fans. Work to achieve those objectives will accelerate from today.”

Widespread reports on October 14 said Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani had withdrawn from the bidding process.

Transfer news expert Fabrizio Romano claimed that the final bid had been worth almost double the $3.5 billion market valuation of the club, and said the Sheikh had planned an extra $1.5bn of investment. Sky News was among the outlets to announce that they also understood the offer had been withdrawn.

In the aftermath of Sheikh Jassim’s withdrawal, Mail Online reported that Ratcliffe was close to finalising a 25% stake in United for $1.57bn. This would secure control of United’s footballing operations for Ratcliffe’s group and be viewed as the first part of a staged buyout.

Back in November 2022, it emerged the Glazer family were willing to end their controversial 18-year ownership of the club, much to the excitement of United fans, many of whom have shown their opposition to the owners for a number of years.

The Americans took control of the Red Devils courtesy of a highly contentious leveraged buyout in 2005.

Debt created by that deal and a subsequent decline in the club’s fortunes on the pitch have led to several fan protests in recent years.

But a statement from brothers Avram and Joel Glazer — who are are co-chairmen of the club —revealed their ‘strategic alternatives’ for United with the Glazers thought to be looking for a price in excess of £5bn.

MORE: Man United takeover: Who are the bidders who want to buy Man Utd from the Glazers?

What the Glazers said about selling Manchester United

“The process is designed to enhance the club’s future growth, with the ultimate goal of positioning the club to capitalize on opportunities both on the pitch and commercially,” the club statement released on November 23 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.

“There can be no assurance that the review being undertaken will result in any transaction involving the company. Manchester United does not intend to make further announcements regarding the review unless and until the board has approved a specific transaction or other course of action requiring a formal announcement.” 

The latest financial results from Old Trafford displayed an ongoing pattern of decline. United’s overall debt rose to £535.7m/$662.5m, based on financial figures for the end of 2022, in an increase of £58.6m/$72.4m from the previous year, with club-wide revenues down by 10%.

There were some improvements in commercial revenue, in comparison to the previous 12 months, but the wider picture is a concern.

In the NYSE release on February 20, Joel Glazer said: “I would like to welcome Sir Jim as co-owner and look forward to working closely with him and Ineos Sport to deliver a bright future for Manchester United.”

MORE: How Fulham lost their heads to gift Man United victory in the FA Cup quarterfinals

How much is Manchester United worth?

The Independent reported that the Glazers could look to sell all of their shares for around $6 billion (£4.9bn).

That would far outstrip the figure paid for Chelsea, perhaps accurately reflecting Manchester United’s status as England’s most prestigious football club.

It also priced out a number of potential bidders, including many of those involved in the battle to take over at Chelsea over the summer. In turn, that opened up the path to co-ownership that Ratcliffe charted.

Is Sir Jim Ratcliffe buying Manchester United?

Ratcliffe already owns two football clubs in the form of OGC Nice and Lausanne-Sport, as well as Formula 1 team Mercedes, through his company Ineos.

The NYSE concludes a process that has gone on for more than a year.

On January 17, 2023, Ratcliffe’s firm Ineos officially declared an interest in buying Manchester United. With the Glazer family looking to sell, Ineos said the company had “formally put ourselves into the process.” 

He backed up his interest with an official statement on February 18, 2023, confirming a bid had been submitted.

Ratcliffe, who lodged an unsuccessful £4.25bn offer to buy Chelsea last year, is currently ranked the 27th wealthiest person in the UK on the Sunday Times Rich List.

The 69-year-old was born in the Greater Manchester region, in Oldham, and grew up supporting United.

Ratcliffe founded chemicals company Ineos in 1998 and this has allowed him to build an estimated net worth of £12 billion ($14.4m).

He has previously declared his interest in buying Manchester United should the opportunity arise and his recent late bid for Chelsea shows he’s ready to pounce. 

Outside of football, Ratcliffe also purchased the Team Sky cycling franchise in 2019 which was rebranded to Ineos Grenadiers, while Ineos have sponsorship deals with Mercedes AMG F1 and the All Blacks. 

“We made some mistakes at Lausanne, but we are fast learners, these have been rectified and we are already seeing the benefits,” Ratcliffe said after completing a deal to buy Nice in 2019. 

“Clubs need to be successful off the pitch, as well as on it, and Nice will be no different.

“We have looked at a lot of clubs in the manner we look at businesses in Ineos — for value and potential — and Nice fulfils that criteria.”

What have Manchester United won under the Glazers?

Although unpopular with Manchester United supporters, the Glazer family’s early reign at the club was littered with success.

In fact, only Chelsea (18) have won more trophies among English clubs than United’s 14 since the takeover was completed, the most recent coming in February when they won the 2022/23 Carabao Cup.

However, only four of those trophies have come since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson, and it is now 10 years since the club lifted the Premier League title. 

Premier League 2023/24 TV channels, live streams

MORE: Watch every Premier League match in Canada on Fubo

Region TV Streaming
Australia Optus Sport
Canada

Fubo Canada

Hong Kong Now TV
India Star Sports Disney+, Hotstar,
JioTV
Malaysia Astro SuperSport Astro Go
New Zealand Sky Sport Sky Sport Now,
Sky Go
Singapore StarHub StarHub TV+
UK Sky Sports, BT Sport NOW TV, Sky Go,
Amazon Prime
USA USA Network,
Telemundo, Universo
Fubo, Peacock

UK: Matches are carried across Sky Sports and BT Sport streaming and TV platforms, with select matches on Amazon Prime.

USA: Select matches are televised on USA Network (English) and Telemundo or Universo (Spanish), and all three channels can be streamed on Fubo. The rest of the matches are streamed on NBC platform Peacock for subscribers.

Canada: Every Premier League game this season is live streaming exclusively via Fubo in Canada.

Australia: Fans in Australia can stream every match live and on demand on Optus Sport.

India: Star Sports network has the rights to show Premier League matches in India. As well as an English broadcast on Star Sports Select, select matches will be available via regional feeds on Star Sports 3 (in Bengali, English, Kannada, Malayalam), Star Sports 1 (Bangla) and Star Sports 1 (Tamil).

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