(London) The chairman of the Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB), Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, and the CEO of Ineos, Jim Ratcliffe, each submitted their third offer for the takeover of Manchester United on Friday, which should be their last.
The Glazer family, at the helm of the club for 18 years, will now have to decide whether to accept one of the offers received or stay in place.
It is this last scenario that has gained credibility over the five months that the soap opera has already lasted, especially since everything suggests that the bar of 7 billion euros (C$10.5 billion) that the Florida family hoped to derive from this sale will not be achieved.
“We can confirm that Sheikh Jassim has submitted his final offer,” a source familiar with the matter told AFP, a few minutes after 11 p.m., the deadline set by the owners.
According to the sports news channel Sky Sports, this offer is more than 5.7 billion euros (C$8.7 billion), which would be a world record for this type of transaction.
“We cannot discuss the details of the offer at this stage,” the close source pointed out, but “Sheikh Jassim’s offer also includes a plan to invest a substantial sum directly in the capital and infrastructure of the club.” .
The sheikh’s offer also includes the reimbursement of the club’s 700 million euros (C$1.1 billion) in debt, the same source assured.
Also according to Sky Sports, the other main candidate for the takeover, British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe, a supporter of the club since early childhood, has also submitted a third offer, but which does not cover all the capital.
In the first two rounds of bidding, in mid-February and late March, he was targeting 69% held by the Glazers, with 31% remaining in the hands of institutional investors.
Early in the sale process, the businessman who already controls clubs in Lausanne, Switzerland, and Nice, France, warned that he would not pay “crazy sums for things that the we regret later”.
With the Glazer siblings divided over the sale, Jim Ratcliffe would now be willing to leave about 19% to brothers Joel and Avram Glazer, co-presidents of the club, if he becomes the majority shareholder, The Times reported on Thursday.
But there is no guarantee that the Glazers would accept a role as minority shareholders, or even that they would sell.
As early as late November, the American family had stressed that there could “be no assurance that (the sale process) will result in a transaction involving the company.”
Several investment funds, such as Elliot Investment Management and Carlyle Group, have worked on financial arrangements allowing the Glazers to remain in control and then invest.
A scenario feared above all by Manchester United supporters who harbor a fierce hatred for the Glazers, whose departure has been demanded in every match for many months.
“We have a pressing need for investment, which undoubtedly requires a change of ownership,” the Manchester United Supporters Foundation, MUST, said in a statement recently, which was also alarmed by the time taken by the procedure. .
“With a summer transfer window only a few weeks away, news of this new delay and continuing uncertainty is very worrying […] the process (must) be completed without further delay” .
There is a real risk of curbing the momentum created by Erik Ten Hag, on the bench since the summer of 2022 and which has taken Manchester United to a League Cup victory, an FA Cup final and a qualification likely for the Champions League.
But the Glazers, who presided over one of United’s worst spells – the club have not been champions for 10 years and their turnover has fallen below those of local rivals City and Liverpool – have none. probably cure and their final decision is not expected for several days.
“Now is the time for the vendors to make a decision on what happens next,” added the source familiar with the matter, pointing to the total vagueness in which everyone seems to be kept on schedule.