Man Utd takeover extension causes ‘friction between parties’ as Glazers’ sale stance is revealed

Joe Williams
Man Utd bidder Sir Jim Ratcliffe walks outside Old Trafford

The Glazer family are still committed to selling Man Utd after bidders were given more time to table their offers in a chaotic few hours on Wednesday night, according to reports.

A cut-off of 9pm on Wednesday had initially been set for parties to submit revised offers and, after this was extended, both Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Sheikh Jassim both reportedly intend to meet the new deadline.

Ineos founder Ratcliffe and Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani, the chairman of Qatar Islamic Bank and the son of a former Qatari prime minister, are the only bidders who have gone public with their intentions to complete a full takeover.

A first round of bidding took place last month and it has been reported there are as many as eight separate potential investors.

No figures have been revealed but one or more of the initial bids were reportedly in the region of £4.5billion.

That would make them world record offers for a sports club, but still some way short of the £6bn valuation reportedly placed on the club by current owners the Glazer family.

The Daily Telegraph claims that ‘the last-minute chaos [on Wednesday night] has caused some friction between parties as the Glazers’ potential sale enters a crucial juncture’.

The report adds:

‘Talks with brokers about the flexibility of the deadline appear to have taken place behind the scenes for at least 24 hours.

‘Both bidders are understood to have confirmed they will still be making revised offers. Sources close to the Qatari bid said they were still committed to bidding. People familiar with Ratcliffe’s proposal said on Wednesday night that their bid would be in “very shortly”.

‘Ratcliffe’s Ineos Group and Sheikh Jassim believe they are the only serious contenders for an outright purchase, depite meetings taking place with up to eight groups.

‘The last-minute delay will also increase fears among United fans that the Glazers could yet opt to keep hold of the club.’

Despite the chaos, Sky Sports insists that ‘the Glazer family do want to sell the club’ as ‘approaching eight bids were sent in to Raine on Wednesday night, but not all of them are to buy United outright’.

The Glazers acquired the club for £750million in a highly-leveraged deal in 2005. After a controversial reign, they announced they were seeking “strategic alternatives” that could include a sale last year.

Ratcliffe, who made an unsuccessful bid to buy Chelsea in 2022, visited Old Trafford last week.

The 70-year-old Ratcliffe was born in the Manchester area and is a boyhood United fan. He is one of the richest people in Britain with an estimated personal fortune of £6bn.

Sheikh Jassim has said his interest is a private initiative through his Nine Two Foundation and is not connected to the Qatari state.

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