The Ineos owner, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, is on the verge of completing a deal with the Glazers, securing a 25 percent stake in Manchester United. This follows the withdrawal of his main rival, Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani, from the bidding race. Sheikh Jassim’s exit came after last-ditch efforts to strike a deal failed to materialize, despite his strong desire to become United’s new owner.
According to reports in the Times, Sheikh Jassim engaged in desperate last-minute negotiations with the Glazers. However, his offer fell short of their staggering £6 billion valuation for acquiring 100 percent ownership of the club. Sheikh Jassim had presented a bid for full ownership that would have also cleared all of United’s existing debt. Still, the Glazers’ demand for more money led to the Qataris pulling the plug on the negotiations.
Ratcliffe is now on the cusp of securing a 25 percent stake in the club, which would mean the Glazers maintain a majority share until Ratcliffe can secure the necessary funds to acquire the remaining stakes.
Under the proposed deal, Ratcliffe’s Ineos team will oversee the football operations of Manchester United, provided the deal receives approval this week. Meanwhile, the Glazers will continue to oversee the commercial aspects. Ineos has submitted a bid ranging from £1.1 billion to £1.3 billion for both A and B shares.
While there has been considerable focus on the expansion and upgrade of Old Trafford, Ineos believes that the immediate priority should be to improve the team’s on-field performance. Ratcliffe initially had several bids turned down, but he has returned with a proposal that aligns better with the Glazers’ financial expectations.
In his new book, “Grit, Rigour & Humour: The Ineos Story,” Sir Jim Ratcliffe detailed the complexities of the takeover talks. He explained that the process had become challenging due to differing opinions among the Glazer siblings on whether to sell the club. The club is equally owned by the late Malcolm Glazer’s children, making negotiations with multiple siblings a complicated endeavor.
It is understood that Ratcliffe had initially sought to acquire 67 percent of the club. However, he later concluded that securing a 25 percent stake was more feasible, especially given the Glazers’ exorbitant asking price, which nearly doubles the club’s actual market value.