October 3, 2023

Sir Jim Ratcliffe has taken new steps in his plan to buy Manchester United from the Glazer family by bringing Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan on board to assist with a takeover bid.

The British billionaire, whose INEOS group already owns French club OGC Nice, is among a number of interested parties hoping to assume control at Old Trafford.

After 18 years of ownership, the extremely unpopular Glazer family stated their position in November last year, confirming that a potential sale was something they were open to.

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Ratcliffe, having previously been knocked back with a takeover enquiry, was the first suitor to go public with his interest when a spokesperson made a statement on his behalf last month.

American financial media organisation Bloomberg has reported that Ratcliffe will have Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan conduct feasibility studies into a possible takeover. The banks would also back his bid with bonds and loans covering the value of United’s existing £659m debt.

The Telegraph has reported that Ratcliffe may be ‘forced to accept high-interest payments on the debt financing provided’ due to the current financial climate.

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There is thought to be a ‘soft deadline’ for bidders on 17 February and Ratcliffe will not be alone in the process. A Qatari consortium, separate from a group from the gulf state interested in buying Liverpool, is actively preparing a takeover bid for the Red Devils.

The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, is known to be a huge United fan and he approves of a consortium moving to purchase the club.

The Emir founded Qatar Sports Investments, the sovereign wealth fund that already owns Paris Saint-Germain. But he is no longer directly involved with QSI, nor is he likely to be the figurehead of any Qatari bid for United, while any subsequent links to PSG would be tenuous.

The Qatari consortium has already been in contact with Raine Group, the investment banking firm overseeing the takeover process, although due diligence has not yet begun.

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