Man Utd takeover news: ‘Endgame’ approaches as Qatar ‘to be announced soon’ reports questioned
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There are mixed reports surrounding Manchester United’s takeover process and whether the Qatari delegation headed by Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani is close to buying the club.
Al-Watan, the Qatar news organisation who are owned by Sheikh Jassim’s father, reported his bid had been successful and claimed a deal would be ‘announced soon’. It led to a huge surge in price on United’s shares, which immediately jumped to $25.01, up 24%.
Meanwhile, BBC’s Economics Editor, Faisal Islam tweeted to say the takeover was nearly its ‘endgame’ and is ‘heading Qatar’s way’. On the increase in share price, he added: “Indicates some traders in thin trading betting on Qatari takeover… but would be even higher, closer to / above $30 in a done deal scenario.”
Despite that, Simon Stone of the BBC is less certain on those reports and claimed senior sources close to the takeover process have ‘played down’ those reports originating from Qatar.
As reports of Sheikh Jassim moving into pole position emerged, so did claims that Sir Jim Ratcliffe is making alternative arrangements. The UK billionaire is the only rival to the Qatari offer, and L’Equipe reported Ratcliffe plans to invest extra funds into Nice - the club he already owns - if his bid to buy United fails.
Meanwhile, journalist Ben Jacobs tweeted to state that neither Sheikh Jassim nor Ratcliffe have been informed that their approach has been successful.
The takeover process has dragged into its eighth month now since the Glazers announced in November that they were ‘willing to explore strategic alternatives’ and would consider a full sale. Only the bids from Ineos and Qatar remain on the table, although the prospect of minority investment is still possible.
The ‘deadline’ to submit final bids for the club came on 28 April but negotiations have since stalled, despite Sheikh Jassim submitting a further two offers, neither of which are believed to value the club at the same price as Ratcliffe’s proposal.
Meanwhile, the process is making transfer plans increasingly complicated given the uncertainty over who could own the club, and therefore invest funds, in just a number of weeks.