Sir Jim Ratcliffe is on the verge of completing a deal to acquire a 25% stake in Manchester United, with the Glazer family expected to remain at the club.
This development comes after Qatari Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani withdrew from the takeover battle.
The petrochemicals billionaire, who is a lifelong Manchester United fan, initially aimed for a majority stake but later adjusted his offer to a quarter of the club, which is estimated to be between £1.4 and £1.5 billion.
While this figure doesn’t meet the Glazers’ initial £6 billion valuation, it’s considered sufficient to move the deal forward.
This development is expected to be confirmed at a board meeting in the coming week, potentially marking the conclusion of a saga that has lasted nearly a year.
If Ratcliffe eventually completes the purchase, it would set a world record figure for a sports franchise. The Glazers had announced their openness to investment or a full sale in November the previous year.
Previously, a Qatari bid, fronted by Sheikh Jassim, had been in contention. Despite offering to clear the club’s debts and purchase it entirely with cash, the Qatari group consistently fell short of the Glazers’ valuation.
Despite an increased offer that surpassed £5 billion, final discussions and negotiations didn’t lead to an agreement, and Sheikh Jassim chose to withdraw from the deal.
It’s noted that the Sheikh had planned to allocate funds for improving Manchester United’s infrastructure, with over £1 billion needed for the modernization of Old Trafford and the Carrington training complex.