Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani and Jim Ratcliffe have filedtheir final offers to buy Manchester United.
Sheikh Jassim appears to be Ratcliffe’s biggest rival, andthe Glazer family, the club’s present owners, has held discussions with bothsides.
The most recent offer from Sheikh Jassim is worthmore than £5 billion ($6.2 billion), whereas Ratcliffe’s enhanced offer has notyet been made public.
Local media reports claim that Sheikh Jassim’s offerincludes a commitment to provide sizable additional funds for signings andinfrastructure, including the renovation of Old Trafford Stadium and the club’straining facilities.
In addition, his offer guarantees to pay off ManchesterUnited’s $620 million debt, which will no doubt win him the favour of the team’sfans.
The Glazer family would be able to keep a 20% holding ifRatcliffe, the founder of the INEOS chemical business, were to get a controlling ownership of more than 50% in the club. A fan base that is sick ofthe Americans’ contentious rule has expressed anxiety over the change.
The Glazers reportedly demand a record-breaking £6 billionfee for a sports team before agreeing to sell Manchester United. It’s possiblethat they won’t accept either Sheikh Jassim or Ratcliffe’s offer at this price.
Since the Glazers took over the team using leverage in 2005, they have been utterly despised by the fans, which are in desperate need offresh funding. The Glazers may be able to maintain control and secure finance for investments in the club’s infrastructure if private equity firms like Elliot Investment Management and The Carlyle Group are among the interested parties in minority ownership.