Last week saw two record breaking bids made for the purchase of Manchester United. Sir Jim Ratcliffe and his INEOS company made an offer in the region of £5 billion which would shatter the prior record for a sale of a sports entity – set by the Denver Broncos when they were sold for £3.75 billion.
Ratcliffe was not alone in his offer however, Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani made his offer 48 hours after the proposed soft deadline and it is not known how much has been offered by his company.
Both offers are set to be assessed this week by the Raine Group and both parties will receive communication about the state of the bids by the end of the week. It has been widely reported that the Glazers are seeking £6 billion which would earn them a colossal net profit worth £5.2 billion. The American family took over the club in 2005 with a leveraged buyout which would not be allowed in today’s game with the ‘Fit and Proper Owner Assessment’.
Sheik Jassim’s offer reportedly includes the opportunity for the Glazers to host a number of their NFL games in Qatar. The Glazers own Tampa Bay Buccaneers and have done so since 1995.
Jim Ratcliffe’s is believed to have included a commitment to building a new stadium and revamping the training ground. Old Trafford has had little to no refurbishment since the American family took over the club when at a time, it was labelled the best stadium in the world.
According to ESPN, many at Old Trafford are fearful of new owners with the expectation of a new structure being introduced and there set to be a massive overhaul in terms of staffing if there is new ownership.
So what is expected this week? The feeling is that both offers will be turned down by the Raine Group which will then beg the question, what next? There are few options for the group in control of the takeover: take both bidders into a third round of offers in order to drive the price up even more or pick a preferred bidder and move forward with just one of the parties.
The Glazers will continue to hold out for £6 billion with two of the six siblings wanting to stay put. However, there is a feeling amongst the leading parties that a compromise can be reached but that would have to be discussed further down the line.
Also, there have been minority offers made to the Raine Group which would see the Glazer family remain in control which would not be received well and rightly so but does fan opinion matter to the owners of Manchester United?
As for those in the club currently, there is growing frustration with a lack of communication about the process and absent knowledge about the state of affairs come the summer transfer window.
Erik Ten Hag has always remained firm on his stance of focusing on the pitch but has said that he is following the situation. It was also confirmed that the Dutchman would receive a new bumper contract no matter the new owners which was positively received by fans.
Unfortunately, there is no timescale on the takeover but a deal could be agreed by the end of easter but would require a huge speed-up in the process. The manager and players will want knowledge of the situation by the summer otherwise it could damage preparations for next season.
Let’s hope for updates soon but nothing is guaranteed especially with the decisions being made by the Glazers.