British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe is reportedly contemplating a new bid for Premier League club Manchester United that would see the Ineos chemicals company owner seek a minority 25 per cent stake in the Old Trafford outfit.
Ratcliffe was seen to be in a two-horse race with Qatari Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani for a majority stake of Manchester United, which is currently controlled by the Glazer family – who also have a controlling stake in NFL franchise Tampa Bay Buccaneers – with bids that reportedly reached £5bn each.
Ratcliffe’s minority bid
According to Sky News, the proposal would see Ratcliffe purchase “A shares”, held by market investors and traded on the New York Stock Exchange, and “B shares”, controlled by the Glazers, in “equal proportion” – that could see Ratcliffe invest £1.5bn in return for his quarter stake.
The billionaire’s initial majority bid for control of the Manchester club reportedly came with assurances that no “fresh debt” would be put on the club despite worries from fans to the contrary.
Sheikh Jassim’s bid is envisaged to be a complete takeover of the former Premier League and Champions League winners. Both main bids had commitments to stadium renovation.
Despite interest from the two leading parties, as well as from others, it is reported that the Glazers may now be reluctant to give up the controlling stake they purchased in 2005 for £790m.
Ratcliffe has a growing sports portfolio which includes a stake in Mercedes’ Formula 1 outfit, Ineos Grenadiers Grand Tour cycling team and French football club OGC Nice.
Manchester United face Turkish side Galatasaray S.K. tonight in the Champions League.