A second round of offers were submitted last week by bidders hoping to purchase Manchester United, with a solution expected to be reached before the summer.
There are now three confirmed offers for the Red Devils from Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani, Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Thomas Zilliacus. But who exactly are the three potential new owners, and who else is involved in the sale process?
We’ve rounded up all the major players in the takeover process and examined their backgrounds and profiles…
The family bought United in 2005, with Malcolm Glazer initially leading the takeover. The American businessman appointed his children onto the United board and they eventually took over full the day-to-day running of the club in 2006.
Malcolm Glazer passed away in 2014, with his children Joel, Avram, Bryan, Kevin, Edward and Darcie remain joint owners of United, although only Joel and Avram run the club as co-chairmen. While the Glazers don’t own all the club shares, they do retain majority ownership. Forbes estimated that the family is worth £3.9bn.
The Glazers’ controversial ownership of the club grew from the 2005 leveraged buyout - which saddled United with debt. The owners have invested only limited funds in the subsequent years, have seen debt increase while dividends have been repeatedly paid to the six Glazer siblings. United’s lack of success since Sir Alex Ferguson’s 2013 departure has only increased fans’ anger, which peaked in 2021 when the Glazers were among the instigators of the failed European Super League breakaway.
The Raine Group
The investment banking group was appointed last November to oversee the club’s potential sale. The US bank brokered Chelsea’s takeover in 2022 and are essentially the middle men between the Glazers and the bidders.
Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani
Sheikh Jassim is the chairman of Qatar Islamic Bank and a member of the Qatari royal family. He spent much of his time in the UK as a youngster and even attended Sandhurst. His father was Prime Minister of Qatar from 2007 to 2013 and Sheikh Jassim is said to be a lifelong United fan, although there is little public information available about the Qatari. His offer to buy the club is for 100 per cent of the shares, while the Qatar royal family have an estimated collective net worth of £275bn.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe
The UK’s richest man, Ratcliffe was born in Failsworth, Greater Manchester, and formed chemical company Ineos in 1998. The company had an estimated turnover of $65 billion in 2021 and Ineos have previously invested in Formula One, ruby and cycling. Ratcliffe, the company’s chairman and CEO, owns Swiss football side Lausanne-Sport, as well as Ligue 1 club Nice. The 70-year-old has an estimated net worth of around £13bn.
The Finnish entrepreneur missed the first unofficial deadline to bid for the club, but managed to submit an offer in time for last week’s second deadline. The 69-year-old, who resides in Singapore, has founded Mobile FutureWorks Group, YuuZoo and Newkia and was once head of Nokia’s corporate communications. Zillacus is proposing to buy United and sell shares back to fans, although there have been some questions raised about the validity of his bid. His net worth is unknown.
Elliot Investment Management
The US hedge fund reportedly bid in the second round of offers to purchase United. It’s believed the company do not want to buy the club outright but provide funding for Old Trafford and Carrington to be renovated, with the Glazers remaining in control. Elliot previously owned AC Milan before selling to RedBird Capital Partners last summer, although they do retain a small percentage of shares. The company claim to manage approximately $55.7 billion in assets.