Sir Jim Ratcliffe net worth amid Man Utd statement on 'sale' - what billionaire has said about buying United

The Manchester-born businessman has been linked with a takeover of Manchester United in the past.

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Manchester United owners the Glazer family are potentially looking to sell the club after 17 years as owners. The Americans released a statement on Tuesday evening with the intention to ‘explore strategic alternatives for the club’.

The Glazer family have been in control of the Red Devils since Malcolm Glazer bought a majority share of the club in 2005. Their takeover was met by criticism from United supporters due to financial concerns.

Joel and Avram Glazer are the current Co-chairman of the Red Devils following the death of their father Malcolm in 2014. The pair, alongside their four siblings own 90 percent of the club as a family.

The statement from United outlined the board’s intention to consider new investments into the club, the sale of the Red Devils, or ‘other transactions involving the Company’. It adds the aim of the process ‘will include an assessment of several initiatives to strengthen the club, including stadium and infrastructure redevelopment, and expansion of the club’s commercial operations on a global scale, each in the context of enhancing the long-term success of the club’s men’s, women’s and academy teams, and bringing benefits to fans and other stakeholders’.

It’s no surprise that a number of individuals have been linked with the takeover of United, including Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Sir Jim Ratcliffe. The latter, who was born in Manchester, is the current owner of Swiss team Lausanne–Sport and French club Nice.

Ratcliffe bought Ligue 1 club Nice for £100m in August 2019. Credit: Getty. Ratcliffe bought Ligue 1 club Nice for £100m in August 2019. Credit: Getty.
Ratcliffe bought Ligue 1 club Nice for £100m in August 2019. Credit: Getty.

Who is Jim Ratcliffe?

The 70-year-old was born in Oldham, Greater Manchester on October 18 1952 and has supported United since a young age. He is also the founder of Ineos, the fourth largest chemical company in the world.

Prior to the sale of Chelsea to Todd Boehly, Ratcliffe was among several names linked with the potential purchase of the Blues. He ultimately made a bid of £4.25bn for the London-based team, but it was rejected in favour of the American’s consortium.

What is Ratcliffe’s net worth?

According to Forbes, Ratcliffe has a net worth of £13.5bn ($16.3bn) - making him the 111th wealthiest person in the world and Britain’s richest person. His wealth is enough to afford the Red Devils, with the site estimating United’s value at £3.7bn ($4.6bn).

United fans protesting the Glazer ownership in September 2022United fans protesting the Glazer ownership in September 2022
United fans protesting the Glazer ownership in September 2022

What has Ratcliffe said about buying United?

The 70-year-old expressed his interest in buying the Red Devils in August 2022, but was rebuffed by the Glazer family. Speaking at a Financial Times Live Event, he said: “Manchester United is owned by the Glazer family. I have met Joel and Avram. They are the nicest people, I have to say, proper gentlemen. They don’t want to sell it.

“It’s owned by the six children of the father. If it had been for sale in the summer, yes we would probably have had a go following on from the Chelsea thing. But we can’t sit around hoping one day Manchester United will become available.

“So what will happen now? We have a sports franchise. We own a third of Mercedes’ Formula 1 team. Robbed last year. The one thing we don’t have… Football is the most popular sport in the world. We should have a premier club. Nice has got a very interesting history. We’ll have a look at what we might be able to do with Nice.”

However, with the Glazers now considering selling the club, this could lead to Ratcliffe changing his mind and attempting to purchase the Red Devils, though that might not look likely. United’s rivals Liverpool are searching for new owners after the Fenway Sports Group put them up for sale on November 7 - a purchase Ratcliffe opted not to consider.

A spokesperson for Ratcliffe stated earlier this month that the billionaire would rather focus on making Nice a ‘top-tier club’ than buy a Premier League side. It read: "Our position has developed since the summer and we are now focusing our efforts in Nice and raising our ambitions for the club to make them into a top-tier club in France to compete with PSG. This would represent much better value for our investment than buying one of the top-tier Premier League clubs."