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Billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe Thinking about Buying Manchester United from Glazers

BERTRAND GUAY/AFP via Getty Images

Ineos billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe is thinking about investing in a stake in Manchester United “with a view to taking full control if the Glazers welcome new investment,” in accordance with Matt Dickinson and Martyn Strydom of the Times.

David Hellier and Ruth David of Bloomberg reported earlier Wednesday that the Glazer family “would consider” selling a minority stake in the club and contains “held some preliminary discussions concerning the possibility of attracting a fresh investor.”

“If the club is on the market, Jim happens to be a potential buyer,” a spokesperson for Ratcliffe told the Times.

Sky Sports News @SkySportsNews

Sir Jim Ratcliffe is thinking about investing in a stake in Manchester United, his spokesperson has said, with a view to taking full control of the club. pic.twitter.com/0qoQiTEZzy

Ineos owns Swiss Super League club FC Lausanne-Sport and Ligue 1’s OGC Nice, and Ratcliffe bid 4.25 billion ($5.12 billion) on Chelsea before it had been sold to Todd Boehly’s consortium.

Miguel Delaney of the Independent reported Wednesday that “at the very least three consortiums are circling Manchester United with a view to a formal bid, as belief grows the Glazers would sell the club for $6 billion.”

The Glazer family has owned Manchester United since 2005 and in addition owns the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But their ownership has been controversial, and the club went nine years without winning a Premier League title.

Given Manchester United’s history as the utmost successful Premier League side with 20 total league titles (13 in the EPL era), that insufficient domestic success has caused unrest among supporters.

While United was bound to see rough stretches after legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, the club has since cycled through five different managers (David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jos Mourinho, Ole Gunnar Solskjr and Erik ten Hag), two caretakers (Ryan Giggs, Michael Carrick) and something interim manager (Ralf Rangnick) in his stead, an interval of great instability following Ferguson’s 27 years face to face.

The club also offers a gross debt of almost 600 million ($723 million), nearly identical to the 660 million ($795 million) figure it had after Malcolm Glazer’s successful hostile takeover in 2005, per Matt Slater of The Athletic.

Roger Bell, the co-founder of financial analysis firm Vysyble, told Slater that the marketplace has doubts concerning the Glazer ownership of United:

“Since 2015, Manchester United’s debt is up by 181 million, which doesn’t sound great, and you will see what the marketplace thinks of the decisions the club’s directors are making from the share price.

“It had been $14 once the club floated, but its $11.55 now (Bell was speaking last Tuesday prior to the shares rallied by 10 percent on the Wednesday, probably due to renewed takeover speculation).

“The marketplace is considering Manchester United and saying, ‘We’re not that keen, thanks. We are able to visit a team that requires a whole rebuild anda stadium that’s falling down.’ However the takeover debt isn’t the problem. That’s ancient history. The share price may be the problem.”

If that market share continues to trend in a downward direction, the Glazers may decide it is time to move on. And when they door simply opt to generate more investorsRatcliffe is apparently sitting on the sidelines.

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