The Manchester United Sale Saga: The Final Lap
Ratcliffe’s INEOS on the Cusp?
It’s been a gruelling 176 days into the Glazer family’s proposed sale of the illustrious Manchester United. The process, filled with twists and turns, may finally be reaching its climactic end. A sense of cautious optimism has emerged from Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s camp, confident that his INEOS bid will secure the deal.
Recent manoeuvres in the financial arena suggest that talks have entered a more advanced stage. Bankers with a history of orchestrating acquisitions for the petrochemicals behemoth, INEOS, were instructed to put together specific financing for the United deal.
At United’s training ground and Old Trafford, the gears are in motion. Staff members are digging out facts and figures for due diligence. Sir Dave Brailsford, the former British Cycling chief and a key member of Ratcliffe’s team, is wearing his optimism on his sleeve.
The final decision, of course, rests in the hands of the Glazers. Yet, another surprise lay in wait on Tuesday evening – representatives of Sheikh Jassim’s Qatar bid announced an improved offer for the club.
The Qatari Twist: Sheikh Jassim’s Surprise Bid
With neither Ratcliffe nor Sheikh Jassim, the two contenders vying for control of United, receiving official feedback on their third bids lodged on April 28, the sudden offer from Sheikh Jassim’s representatives raises eyebrows. Could it be the result of back-channel dialogue and a fear of losing out without a final push? Only time will tell.
Raine, the merchant bank orchestrating the search for “strategic alternatives,” has expressed surprise at the lack of direct contact with Sheikh Jassim, even at this late stage in the proceedings. This silence, against the backdrop of a potential once-in-a-generation opportunity to own United, is raising questions amongst those involved.
Ratcliffe attended the tour of Old Trafford and Carrington in person, further solidifying his bid’s credibility. Sheikh Jassim, on the other hand, sent representatives, leading some to believe that the Premier League would take longer to ratify a Qatari takeover. This could make the deal less appealing to the Glazer siblings who wish to cash out immediately.
The Glazer Siblings: A Family Divided
The Glazer family appears to be at odds over the sale. Avram and Joel Glazer, the club’s co-chairmen, seem reluctant to sell, while Bryan, Edward and Kevin Glazer, as well as their sister, Darcie Glazer Kassewitz, are eager to bank their shares. This family rift could have significant implications for the final sale decision.
Accusations of inaccurate briefings have been flying between Raine and Sheikh Jassim’s camp. The situation has been described by an insider as “pointing fingers.” The size of Sheikh Jassim’s third bid, whether it was more or less than £5 billion, is also under dispute.
Sheikh Jassim’s camp assert that all their bids, including the most recent one, entail wiping United’s debt, which stands at a minimum of £535.7 million. Furthermore, they promise several hundred million pounds for investment in the stadium and local community. Could this be the game-changer that tips the balance in Sheikh Jassim’s favour?
The Final Countdown: Ratcliffe vs Sheikh Jassim
With the buzz reaching fever pitch, Manchester United fans worldwide are waiting with bated breath. Will the club fall into the hands of INEOS’s Sir Jim Ratcliffe or Qatar’s Sheikh Jassim? As the countdown to the final decision begins, it’s clear that the finish line is in sight in this epic battle for control of Manchester United.