May 17 – Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani of Qatar has reportedly submitted an improved offer in the latest bid manoeuvring around the sale of Manchester United. The new offer is understood to be in discussion between the Glazer family and the Raine Group, the New York-based investment bank, who are handling the sale.
It’s been 176 days since Manchester United launched the sales process, exploring investment up to a full sale with the first bids submitted in February and the last and finals bids supposedly made at the end of April. Since then it seems Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Ineos have refined their bid and now Shaikh Jassim has done the same.
Reports are that Sheikh Jassim improved his bid with the promise to clear United’s debt and creation of a separate fund directed solely at the club and the local community. Man Utd have debt of nearly £1 billion through a combination of gross debt, bank borrowings and outstanding transfer fees with associated payments.
In April, Ratcliffe’s revised offer seemed to have put him in pole position to acquire the club, leaving a 20% stake to the Glazers. Sheikh Jassim’s bid has reportedly now reached close to £5 billion.
The Glazers acquired the club in 2005 for £790 million and put their own valuation of between £5 billion and £6 billion for the sale. With the process dragging on nearly six months, the noise from media and fans who have been given very little information, has helped to drive up the price.
Initially there were a number of investment groups looking to buy, including US football investing group Elliott Management, but all have dropped out with only two clear bidders prepared to keep pushing the price up.
Contact the writer of this story at email@example.com