Negotiations to sell Manchester United to Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani have officially crumbled, according to the latest information shared by journalist Fabrizio Romano, who has offered a behind-the-scenes update from Qatari sources.
The Glazers, Manchester United’s current owners, opened the doors to potential buyers about 11 months ago. Two prospective purchasers emerged in this period, one of whom was Sheikh Jassim.
The Raine Group has been overseeing these negotiations on behalf of the Glazers, and the club has been keen to finalize the takeover talks. However, Sheikh Jassim will not be a part of these discussions any longer.
Sheikh Jassim’s Withdrawal:
Romano reports that sources close to the Qatari businessman confirm he is unequivocally disengaging from the discussions to acquire Manchester United. His decision to pull out has been relayed to the Glazers, marking the end of any prospective deal.
Sheikh Jassim’s exit from negotiations was widely reported following unsuccessful attempts to reach an agreement with the Glazers. His offer, rumored to be over £5 billion, did not meet the valuation standards set by the American owners, who are set to reach 19 years of ownership in 2024.
The Qatari’s withdrawal comes after extensive discussions with the Glazers made it evident that a deal could not be reached, even though his offer exceeded the club’s stock market valuation.
Sheikh Jassim aimed to secure a complete 100% ownership of the club, and he put forth his fifth and final bid in June. Subsequently, no further offers have been made as the Qatari party decided to distance itself from the negotiations.
Status Quo at Old Trafford:
While there has been no formal statement from Sheikh Jassim, journalist Ben Jacobs asserts that the party has indeed withdrawn from negotiations and does not intend to return. As things stand, the Glazers continue to hold sway at Old Trafford, much to the chagrin of many Manchester United supporters.
Fabrizio Romano Update:
Fabrizio Romano has obtained a clarifying update that Sheikh Jassim and the Qatari group are no longer contenders in the race to buy Manchester United. The reason behind this decision is attributed to their deep frustration with the prolonged process.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe Takes the Lead:
With Sheikh Jassim’s withdrawal, INEOS chairman Sir Jim Ratcliffe is now in prime position to secure his 25% minority investment in the club.
However, reports suggest that finalizing the transaction for his stake may not be completed until January due to intricate details being worked out by lawyers.
Ratcliffe’s investment, totaling around £1.4 billion, was expected to be ratified at a recent board meeting.
Yet, complexities surrounding the agreement could prolong the process for ‘weeks.’ Consequently, it appears unlikely that Ratcliffe will assume control by the turn of the year, adhering to the New York Stock Exchange and Premier League requirements.
Football Operations and Transfer Windows:
Sir Jim Ratcliffe is anticipated to assume responsibility for football operations, although the club does not have significant plans for the winter transfer window.
Financial Fair Play regulations dictate that Manchester United must sell before buying, with players like Harry Maguire potentially needing to be offloaded before new recruits can be brought in.
At Old Trafford, uncertainties loom large, with matters behind the scenes generating as many headlines as the team’s underwhelming start to the campaign on the pitch.
Manchester United currently occupies the tenth spot in the Premier League, experiencing a string of domestic defeats, including losses to Brighton & Hove Albion and Crystal Palace.
Their performance in the Champions League has been equally underwhelming, leaving them rooted to the bottom of their group after a 4-3 defeat against Bayern Munich and a 3-2 loss to Galatasaray at the Theatre of Dreams.