The future of Manchester United remains on uncertain ground in 2023 after the Glazer family outlined their interest in selling the club.
The US-based investors have endured a controversial relationship with United fans since taking charge at Old Trafford in 2005 and confirmed in November that they were exploring the possibility of a sale.
Despite an initial spark of speculation over what could happen next with the Glazer’s ownership of United, potential buyers were originally slow to register a consistent public interest aside from in January 2023, Sir Jim Ratcliffe announcing his plans to make a bid.
That changed in early February, when it emerged that investors from Qatar were prepared to lodge a formal bid in the coming days and that the potential buyers were confident they would be successful.
Still, with the Glazers reportedly keen to sign off on any deal in the first quarter of 2023, you can expect significant developments in the coming weeks.
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Latest news, updates on Man United club sale
Fresh reports on March 10, from Sky Sports, claim the Qatari investment group fronted by Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani have told United they will not be pressured into overpaying in the negotiations.
Al Thani is rumoured to value the club at around £4.5bn, with the Glazer’s own projection closer to £6bn, which leaves the two parties a sizeable distance apart.
The Glazers own stance of an openness towards a complete sale will be utilised to tip the talks in their favour, however, Al Thani has previously demonstrated his willingness to walk away from Premier League investment links, if the deal does not work for him.
On March 4, the Telegraph reported that the two highest-profile bids to buy Manchester United — from Sir Jim Ratcliffe and the Qatari conglomerate — had cleared the first hurdle in the race to buy Man United.
The report stated that each interested party had been invited to enter “more serious negotiations” to take over from the Glazers, having reached stage two of a three-stage process.
However, the report added that the two groups are still awaiting more detailed financial information regarding a possible deal. The Glazers reportedly still hope to conclude any agreement, either for a minority stake or a full takeover, by the end of April.
Are Glazers selling United?
Following the initial rumours in November 2022, United and the Glazers released a statement to address the situation, and they are open to a direct sale.
“The strength of Manchester United rests on the passion and loyalty of our global community of 1.1 billion fans and followers,” the statement said.
“As we seek to continue building on the club’s history of success, the board has authorized a thorough evaluation of strategic alternatives.
“The board will consider all strategic alternatives. That includes new investment into the club, a sale, or other transactions involving the company.”
What is Manchester United price?
Following the Glazers’ announcement, there was a fluctuation on United’s stock and company valuation, as the financial markets reacted to the news.
The expectation is that a lower price will be negotiated as part of takeover talks, with reports from the Financial Times estimating the club has an overall worth of around $3.5 billion, despite previous estimates of over $4bn. However, it’s thought the Glazers want to hold out for closer to $5bn.
Who could buy Manchester United?
Interest in United will continue to grow, particularly if their value drops, with rumours connecting individuals and companies with a move.
As of February 18, there are two official bids lodged to buy the club. The two confirmed bids from Qatari Sheikh Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad bin Jaber Al-Thani, and Sir Jim Ratcliffe via his company Ineos. Three other reported prospective bidders have yet to announce that they’ve officially submitted offers for the club.
Ratcliffe was linked with a takeover offer before the Glazers’ arrival 17 years ago, while an offer from the DWSF would continue the pattern of state ownership of clubs in European football.
In early February, news emerged of interest from Qatar. A report in the Daily Mail indicated the potential buyers were confident they would have the financial might to blow rivals out of the water, while any possible conflict with UEFA rules over the fact Qatar Sports Investment owns Paris Saint-Germain would be circumnavigated.
Elliott Investment Management, the US hedge fund that oversaw the sale of AC Milan in 2018, also launched an 11th-hour proposal prior to the deadline. However, Elliott’s offer reportedly looks a little different: rather than an offer to buy the club, it is a financing proposal, either to facilitate another bid or to allow the Glazers to retain control, reports from BBC Sport confirmed they have now progressed to the second stage of the sale process.
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When did the Glazers buy Manchester United?
The Glazers’ connection with United stretches back to 2003, following their initial purchase of club shares through a 2.9% stake at Old Trafford.
That was followed up by gradual share increases year by year up until 2005, where they purchased a controlling stake from former owners JP McManus and John Magnier.
How much did the Glazers pay for Manchester United?
Following a rapid buying of shares in the summer of 2005, the Glazers completed a full takeover before the start of the 2005/06 season, with an estimated full purchase price of around £790 million ($1.5bn).
To finance the takeover, the family loaded some of the debt onto the club, putting them in the red for the first time since the 1930s. It is the club’s debt level, coupled with the Glazers taking millions in dividend payments each year while substantially reducing investment into certain areas of the club — such as the stadium — that has fuelled much of the anger towards their ownership among fans.
Is Qatar buying Manchester United?
Among the most likely new owners of Manchester United appear to be an investment group from Qatar.
The Daily Mail previously said a group of “private, high-wealth individuals” were interested in buying what they consider to be the “crown jewels” of football.
Buoyed by the global interest in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, the group are interested only in a full takeover of United, not a minority stake. They are claimed to boast financial might that would leave almost any other competing parties unable to rival their bid.
On February 17, Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani confirmed he had lodged an official bid.
Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani bid in for 100% of Manchester United 🚨🔴 #MUFC
“The offer aims to restore the club to its former glory, both on and off the pitch, and will focus on putting fans back at the heart of Manchester United Football Club”.
Full statement ⤵️🚨 pic.twitter.com/c54Zuj1jwi
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) February 17, 2023
Is the Dubai Wealth Fund buying Manchester United?
Links with a state-backed purchase are relatively new, with Dubai officials open to joining their neighbouring states in purchasing a major football club.
A report from the Daily Mirror in November 2022 claimed the Dubai leadership are working on an investment portfolio involving private investors, after being put on ‘red alert’ by the Glazers’ announcement. However, since then no developments have come to fruition, at least not publicly.
Is Sir Jim Ratcliffe buying Manchester United?
If Manchester United do get a new owner, famous fan Sir Jim Ratcliffe has long been a strong contender to take charge.
On January 17, 2023, Ratcliffe’s firm Ineos officially declared an interest in buying United. With the Glazer family looking to sell, Ineos said the company had “formally put ourselves into the process.”
They then backed their interest up officially on February 8, announcing they had made an offer for a “majority ownership” of the club.
Official: INEOS confirm bid submitted for Man Utd 🚨🔴 #MUFC
“Sir Jim Ratcliffe-INEOS made a bid for majority ownership of Manchester United.
“We see role as long-term custodians of Man Utd — invest to make it the number one club in the world again & win the Chanpions League”. pic.twitter.com/0pa0l6y5xE
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) February 18, 2023
Ratcliffe, who lodged an unsuccessful £4.25bn offer to buy Chelsea last year, is currently ranked the 27th wealthiest person in the UK on the Sunday Times Rich List.
The 69-year-old was born in Greater Manchester and grew up supporting the club.
Ratcliffe founded chemical company Ineos in 1998 and this has allowed him to build an estimated net worth of £12 billion ($14.4m).
He has previously declared his interest in buying United should the opportunity arise, and his late bid to purchase Chelsea underlined his readiness to pounce in a difficult market.
Outside football, Ratcliffe also purchased the Team Sky cycling franchise in 2019, which was rebranded to INEOS Grenadiers. The company also has sponsorship deals with Mercedes AMG F1 and the All Blacks.
Is David Beckham buying Manchester United?
The prospect of a fairy-tale return for David Beckham has caused wild speculation amongst fans after former teammate Rio Ferdinand previously hinted at a potential deal.
Beckham has already expanded his post-playing career investment portfolio, with a majority stake in MLS side Inter Miami, but any interest would have to come as part of a combined bid.
<img src="https://library.sportingnews.com/styles/crop_style_16_9_mobile_2x/s3/2021-11/david-beckham-manchester-united_150m6hk2smwj21nq4qbtgvtmbv.jpg?itok=KFL3Rd0Q" alt="David Beckham Manchester United" title=" 9. DAVID BECKHAM |
Clubs: Manchester United | Games: 265 | Goals: 62 ” typeof=”foaf:Image”>
If the Glazers want a quick sale, it appears unlikely that Beckham will pivot from his US project, despite the narrative behind his links to United. He is also unlikely to be able to challenge the amount of money offered by the Qatari investment group.
Premier League 2022/23 TV channels, live streams
|Hong Kong||—||Now TV|
|India||Star Sports||Disney+, Hotstar, JioTV|
|Malaysia||Astro SuperSport||Astro Go|
|New Zealand||Sky Sport||Sky Sport Now, Sky Go|
|UK||Sky Sports, BT Sport||NOW TV, Sky Go, Amazon Prime|
|USA||USA Network, Telemundo, Universo||fuboTV, Peacock|
UK: Matches are carried across Sky Sports and BT Sport streaming and TV platforms, with select matches on Amazon Prime.
USA: Select matches are televised on USA Network (English) and Telemundo or Universo (Spanish), and all three channels can be streamed on fuboTV. The rest of the matches are streamed on NBC platform Peacock for subscribers.
Canada: Every Premier League game this season is live streaming exclusively via fuboTV in Canada.
Australia: Fans in Australia can stream every match live and on demand on Optus Sport.
India: Star Sports network has the rights to show Premier League matches in India. As well as an English broadcast on Star Sports Select, select matches will be available via regional feeds on Star Sports 3 (in Bengali, English, Kannada, Malayalam), Star Sports 1 (Bangla) and Star Sports 1 (Tamil).