Manchester United’s well-documented sale is not guaranteed to happen, with the controlling Glazer family said to be ‘split’.
Manchester United announced back in November that they were looking to ‘explore strategic alternatives’ to the Glazer’s ownership, seeking additional investment up to and including a full sale of the club.
Since then, a whole host of multi-billionaires have been linked with an interest, with Qatari Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani and British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe having both confirmed that they have made proposals to purchase the club outright ahead of last Friday’s ‘soft deadline’.
The value of their bids – which have been submitted to The Raine Group – has not been officially disclosed, though according to a report in The Athletic, the two confirmed bids are the only ones to have been submitted, with both reported to be worth around £4.5billion.
However, in what will be worrying news for Manchester United fans, they say that there are ‘no assurances’ that the Glazers will sell up at all. Joel and Avram Glazer are still said to be ‘reluctant’ to sell, with Joel, in particular, ‘in his own way, still emotionally invested’ in the Old Trafford outfit.
The issue is that the two brothers do not have the financial power to personally buy out their four siblings, with Kevin, Bryan, Edward and Darcie wishing to ‘cash in for enormous profit’.
However, the two bids that have been received fall short of the Glazers’ valuation of between £6-8billion, with Joe Ravitch, the Raine banker leading the negotiations, reported to have recommended that ‘they do not part with United for anything less than £6bn.’
An alternative to a sale that could help the Glazers remain in power is the interest from US hedge fund Elliott Investment Management who have offered to help finance any potential takeover, but have also indicated it would provide finance to the Glazers should a sale fail to go through.
Meanwhile, the report suggests that Manchester United’s announcement that they are raising season ticket prices for the first time in 11 years could be a signal that the Glazers are prepared to stay.
They say that the announcement gives the American family an ‘insurance policy’ of increased revenues coming into the club if they decide not to sell.
The six Glazer siblings currently own 69 per cent of United’s shares, though crucially, they are Class B shares that carry 10 times the voting power of the remaining 31 per cent that they do not own.
It’s safe to say that United fans will not be happy if they remain in power.