Will the Glazers sell Man Utd? Current stance explained, ‘exclusive talks’ held, Maguire ‘walking away’ claim

Everything you need to know about the ongoing speculation surrounding Manchester United’s boardroom situation.
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The Glazer family have held preliminary talks over the prospect of selling a minority stake in Manchester United, according to a report from Bloomberg.

The Americans have been at the helm at Old Trafford since 2005, when the late Malcolm Glazer purchased the club in a leveraged buyout.

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That deal saddled the Red Devils with massive debts, and relations between the family and supporters have soured considerably following an extended spell of under-performance on the pitch in the aftermath of Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013.

And after another frustrating summer transfer window, as well as a disastrous start to the new Premier League campaign, it is understood that the Glazers are now weighing up the option of selling shares in the club.

Here’s everything you need to know...

What is the Glazers’ current stance on selling shares?

At the time of writing, a number of reports have suggested that the Glazers’ stance on selling shares in United has softened in recent days.

According to Bloomberg, who first reported the story, it is understood that preliminary discussions about the possibility of bringing in a new investor have been held, although the American family is not yet ready to relinquish control of the club, which could be valued at around £5 billion.

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Talks are ongoing and there is still no certainty that the Glazers will decide to sell a stake at all.

In a Q&A on the matter, The Independent said: “It is too early to tell at the moment but it appears the Glazers are now open to selling a minority stake in the club.

“That is still a long way short of a full takeover but could potentially be a sign of their long-term thinking.”

When ManchesterWorld asked for clarification on the Glazers’ current stance, United gave no comment.

Who is in the running to buy shares in United?

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Despite there being no guarantees that the Glazers will decide to sell, a number of prospective investors have been mooted.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe, who recently missed out on the purchase of Chelsea to American billionaire Todd Boehly and private equity firm Clearlake Capital in a £4.25 billion deal, has expressed interest already.

The Times report that a spokeseman for Ratcliffe’s company, Ineos, said: “If the club is for sale, Jim is definitely a potential buyer”.

Likewise, an update from the Daily Mail claims that the Glazers are in “exclusive talks” to sell a minority stake to US private equity firm Apollo, but suggests that any deal is “not expected to be concluded until next month at the earliest”.

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It is understood that Apollo may bring in other investors as part of any agreement.

Speaking to Man United The Religion earlier this month, English businessman Michael Knighton also confirmed his plan to submit a formal offer of his own to buy the Red Devils, but said he would rely on help from Ratcliffe to complete the purchase.

Tech billionaire Elon Musk sparked conversation earlier in the week when he tweeted that he intended to purchase the club too, but has since clarified that he was “joking”.

What are the other factors to consider?

Perhaps the most obvious factor is price, with football finance expert Kieran Maguire claiming that the Glazer family would only sell United for double the club’s current market value.

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The Price of Football podcast presenter told BBC Radio 5 Live: “There is a prospect of the Glazers walking away from Manchester United if the price is right.

“It’s always like that with any business. But I think we’d be looking at a price double of what the shares are trading at at the moment to persuade them.

“They are convinced that there is a bright future for Manchester United through streaming, through perhaps fan tokens and utilising the large database they have of the fans and the things they like to do.”