The race to buy Manchester United heated up on Saturday with Jim Ratcliffe’s company Ineos confirming it had bid for the club and buzz over US hedge fund Elliott Investment Management was also prepared to finance a takeover.
The initial deadline for bids expired on Friday. Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani, a son of Qatar’s former Prime Minister, also confirmed a bid on Friday. On Thursday, The Daily Telegraph reported that Saudi Arabia has also submitted a bid for United.
British billionaire Ratcliffe, a life-long United fan and founder of chemicals producer Ineos, has previously openly expressed his interest in buying the Old Trafford club, and Ineos formally entered the bidding process earlier this year.
Ineos said in its statement that it would look to implement a fan-centred approach. “We would see our role as the long-term custodians of Manchester United on behalf of the fans and the wider community,” the chemical firm said.
Elliott has ruled itself out of a full takeover but is planning to offer financing for a bid, though it is unclear which bid the hedge-fund giant and previous owner of Serie A champions AC Milan will be involved in, a source said.
Ineos has long been involved in sport, with the company acting as principal partners to eight-time Formula One champions Mercedes, owning the Ineos Grenadiers cycling team and serving as performance partner to the New Zealand rugby team. The company also bought Ligue 1 club Nice in 2019.
The Glazers began looking at options for United, including new investment or a potential sale, in November, 17 years after they bought the Old Trafford club.
They bought United for $951 million as part of a highly leveraged deal.
United fans have been clamouring for a change of ownership and the Glazers have been criticised as the team has not won trophies since 2017, when they lifted the Europa League and League Cup. United are now third in the Premier League standings.