Qatar’s Sheikh Jassim submits new and improved Manchester United bid
Apparently the 'deadlines' for all these bidding rounds are pretty arbitrary.
Qatar’s Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al-Thani has increased his offer to buy Manchester United, submitting a new and improved bid on Tuesday, 17 May.
The Qatari prince and banker entered a world-record bid to buy the club during the third round of deliberations which ended in April but is said to have now elevated his offer to between £5-5.5 billion, with Raine Group receiving the improved proposal on Tuesday morning.
Whilst this figure is still short of the Glazer family’s £6bn valuation, it is now thought to be the strongest offer and comes after a number of reports that main takeover rival, Sir Jim Ratcliffe and his INEOS Group, were leading the race thanks to a revised offer of their own.
This is Sheikh Jassim‘s fourth bid overall, with the buyout process officially beginning back in February and the third round of bidding concluding on 28 April. Should this improved offer be accepted, it will be for 100% control of the club and will see their debt cleared.
Part of the reason Ratcliffe was said to be the favourite to secure Man United’s sale was that his offer reportedly offered the Glazers a chance to remain part of the club by allowing them to keep a 20% minority stake.
However, United fans have made their feelings more than clear: they want a full sale only and for the Glazers to sever all ties with the club. Since acquiring the Red Devils through a controversial leveraged buyout back in 2005, the club has now accrued £969.6m in debt as of March 2023.
Moreover, part of the concerns surrounding the alternate bid is that although the Failsworth-born businessman is a billionaire and has experience overseeing sports franchises as the owner of OGC Nice and Team Sky cycling, it is thought he may not be able to fully finance the takeover himself.
On the other hand, with virtually an entire nation’s sovereign wealth behind him, Sheikh Jassim’s bid won’t require any borrowing and beyond clearing the club’s debt, is said to include separate funds to spend on the club, help redevelop the stadium and training ground, as well as invest in the community.
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Financing aside, the only thing seemingly standing in Sheikh Jassim’s way is the controversy surrounding Qatar’s human rights record which became ever more prominent following the World Cup and whether or not the current American owners are enticed by the possibility of keeping some stake in the club.
At present, the Glazers have given no indication as to when a deal might be accepted or if the last two offers will indeed be the final round of bidding — revised offers from both of the frontrunners would suggest otherwise.
Nevertheless, supporters are remaining vocal that the Glazers’ time is up and they want rid, especially with the football back on the up under Erik ten Hag.
If this doesn’t sum up the lasting sentiment they’d like to part on, we don’t know what does:
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Featured Image — Jason Wong (via Lookout Point)