regular-article-logo Monday, 05 June 2023

Jim Ratcliffe refuses to pay a ‘stupid price’ for Manchester United

Ratcliffe, a life-long United fan, put in a bid for the club in February

James Ducker, TOM MORGAN London Published 22.03.23, 06:07 AM
Jim Ratcliffe.

Jim Ratcliffe. File picture

Jim Ratcliffe has insisted he will not be sucked into paying a “stupid” price for Manchester United and says his interest in buying the club is being driven by a desire to “win things”.

Ratcliffe, a life-long United fan, put in a bid for the club in February.


United’s current owners, the Glazer family, began looking at options for the record 20-time English champions, including new investment or a potential sale, in November, 17 years after they bought the club for £790m as part of a highly leveraged deal.

The billionaire owner of petrochemicals giant Ineos met personnel from United in person on Friday as he attempts to win over the Glazers in the takeover battle for England’s biggest football club.

Ratcliffe’s main competition for United appears to be the chairman of the Qatar Islamic Bank, Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani, whose bid team held talks in Manchester the day before the Ineos founder’s visit.

Detailed bids could be sent to Raine Group, the merchant bank running the process on behalf of the Glazers, as early as Wednesday.

The indications are that the initial offers made by interested parties fell short of the Glazers’ £5 billion plus valuation and will have to be raised to persuade the Americans to sell. Sheikh Jassim is proposing a debt-free takeover; Ratcliffe has said his bid will not add to the existing debt levels.

Yet Ratcliffe, while refusing to discuss the financial details of his bid, told the Wall Street Journal in an interview that he would not be paying a “stupid” figure that would cause regret down the line.

“How do you decide the price of a painting? How do you decide the price of a house? It’s not related to how much it cost to build or how much it cost to paint,” Ratcliffe said. “What you don’t want to do is pay stupid prices for things because then you regret it subsequently.”

A lifelong United fan, Ratcliffe, who hails from Oldham, said his motives were born of a desire for on-pitch success.“Our interest in that club would be purely in winning things,” he said.

The Glazers have been subjected to widespread protests and fan fury over the money that has poured out of the club to service their leveraged takeover and line their own pockets. Ratcliffe said he regarded United as a “community asset” rather than a financial one.

Ratcliffe admitted the pursuit of United was different to many of his other business investments. “That in a sense goes without saying, because sport is emotional,” he added.

Ratcliffe spoke to United manager Erik ten Hag and chief executive Richard Arnold in Manchester last week.

The Daily Telegraph in London

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