In a statement released on Tuesday, United said the board are ‘commencing a process to explore strategic alternatives for the club’. While that does not necessarily mean United’s owners will sell, the statement added: “As part of this process, the board will consider all strategic alternatives, including new investment into the club, a sale, or other transactions involving the company.”
Therefore, a number of potentially interested parties have been placed on high alert, and there have been several reports of groups planning to make a bid to buy the 20-time English champions. We’ve rounded up all the major reports and taken a look at who United’s new owners could be.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe
The UK’s richest man has long been linked with a bid to buy the club, something championed by Michael Knighton in recent months. According to the Telegraph, Ratcliffe is ‘planning’ to bid for United, despite previously claiming he was no longer interested in buying the Red Devils.
The United fan was linked with purchasing Chelsea earlier this year and owns Ligue 1 side Nice and has previously invested in cycling and Formula One.
Arabian Business claim Dubai investors are on ‘red alert’ following the Glazers’ announcement. They are said to be ‘among the interested buyers’ with Dubai previously linked with a takeover of the club.
Should United be taken over by Dubai investors, the Red Devils would have stronger ties to Manchester City, who are owned by Abu Dhabi, one of the seven emirates that make up the UAE, along with Dubai.
Amazon & Facebook
The Daily Mail report Amazon and Facebook are among the companies that could be considering making a bid for United. The same outlet also state Ratcliffe and Dubai are interested parties.
The former United midfielder is ‘open to holding talks with potential bidders’, as per the Financial Times. They add that prospective buyers could ‘enlist’ Beckham’s services to help with a takeover but clarify the 47-year-old doesn’t have the required funds to buy United outright himself.
The group tried to buy United 12 years ago but were unsuccessful. The organisation was originally headed up by Lord Jim O’Neill, the former Goldman Sachs boss, and Sir Paul Marshall. The former told the Manchester Evening News that, under the right circumstances, he could try and buy the club again.
“If I thought I could be part of some really value-based, purpose-based, better ownership of United, I would, but it would be very, very difficult,” he explained. “I don’t want to put myself through everything that happened 12 years ago unless I think the chances of success are strong and going into it I think it’s very hard.
The technology giants are interested in buying United for £5.8b, reports the Daily Star. They add Apple have ‘expressed an interest in discussing a potential deal’, with CEO Tim Cook ‘keen to explore opportunities’. However, Joe Rossignol, a reporter for Mac Rumours has since dimissed such claims and beleives Apple will not look to make a bid for the club.
The owner of fashion brand Zara was named as the latest interested party on Thursday. The Manchester Evening News claim the 86-yearold ‘informed senior executives of his interest in United’.