Sir Jim Ratcliffe is closing in on a successful TAKEOVER at Manchester United – but British-born billionaire’s main rival Qatari Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani is considering an 11th-hour bid
- Sir Jim Ratcliffe is closing in on a successful takeover at Manchester United
- The British billionaire is seen as the preferred option to takeover by the Glazers
- A final decision on who will win the race is unlikely to be taken by this weekend
The Manchester United takeover saga is nearing a conclusion – with Sir Jim Ratcliffe still in the lead.
A final decision on who will win the race for the Premier League giants remains outstanding and is unlikely to be reached this weekend.
However, British-born billionaire Ratcliffe’s Ineos Group have kept their noses ahead of the main rival bid from Qatari Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani, according to those close to the process as it nears an end.
It remains to be seen if Sheikh Jassim’s group will lodge a final attempt to blow the competition out of the water. The Qatari party are far from conceding defeat and remain in firmly in the game, it is understood. Talks are ongoing. Despite a deadline for final bids having passed, it appears as though there is room for further manoeuvre.
Mail Sport revealed last month that Ratcliffe had stolen a march when final bids were lodged having valued United higher than Sheikh Jassim. His proposals included the option for Joel and Avram Glazer to initially remain at the club before cashing out further down the line.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe (above) is the leading candidate to takeover control at Manchester United
The Glazer family announced they were considering selling United after 18 years of highly controversial ownership in November 2022
Qatari Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani (above) could still lodge a final attempt to buy United
That is thought to be attractive to the American pair, the two members of the deeply unpopular owning family who are keen to stay and further maximise their stake in United.
While it would be unpopular with fans, the fact that the Glazers would ultimately be committed to leaving may be enough to get sections of United’s fanbase onboard. Ratcliffe was the only party to value United at more than £5bn.
Raine Group, the New York-based merchant bankers who are overseeing the sale, are now thought to be close to finalising an agreement with a preferred bidder. The situation has not moved as quickly as had been hoped but a conclusion is in sight.
This weekend may well be a critical period, with no options ruled out, although a decision is not likely until next week.
Should Ratcliffe succeed, he would take around 50 per cent of United, with the two Glazers holding around 25 per cent. It would see the Oldham-born petrochemicals magnate shell out around £2.5bn.
It would also give him the ability to inject funds that may have been used to take a bigger slice on infrastructure and squad strengthening.
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