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Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani has left his £5billion bid to buy Manchester United on the table but will not increase the offer any further, according to reports. The Qatari banker’s firm stance has handed the Glazer family an ultimatum while Sir Jim Ratcliffe explores a minority stake at Old Trafford.
Eleven months have passed since the Glazers announced a strategic review last November, including a potential sale of the club.
The emergence of interested parties followed, with Sheikh Jassim and Ratcliffe the two primary candidates to complete a takeover.
Sheikh Jassim has reportedly tabled £5bn for 100 per cent of United, while Ratcliffe’s initial approach aimed to buy the Glazers’ 67 per cent stake.
However, Ratcliffe is said to have recently tweaked his bid, joining those interested in a minority stake at Old Trafford by offering £1.5bn for 25 per cent of the club.
The Times report that the revised offer has been described as feasible and meets the Glazers’ valuation, given the unpopular owners would retain control.
There may have been an expectation among the six siblings that news of Ratcliffe’s new strategy would have pushed Sheikh Jassim to increase his bid for a full sale.
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But the report claims that the Qatari group believe talk of Ratcliffe eyeing a minority stake to beat him to the post is just another pressure tactic imposed by the Raine Group, tasked with selling United for the best price.
Sheikh Jassim’s camp is convinced the latest developments are another way to build competitive tension, which has been rife throughout the delayed process.
And, therefore, he allegedly will refrain from upping his price, staying true to the take-it-or-leave-it stance that came with his final bid in June.
The Glazers value United at around £6bn, which the Qatari party consider too high. It leaves the American family with an important choice to make.
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Bow down to Sheikh Jassim’s terms for a fee significantly higher than the club’s true worth anyway. Or keep control in M16 by opting for Ratcliffe’s revised efforts.
If the Glazers name Ratcliffe their preferred bidder, the 70-year-old INEOS chief will be on the ladder with a view of eventually buying out United’s current owners in the coming years.
Minority investment would also solve a potential litigation issue after some holders of the club’s publicly traded A shares threatened legal action if Ratcliffe bought 67 per cent of B shares.
Ratcliffe’s initial proposal focused on the Glazers’ B shares – which carry more voting rights – but his new offer reportedly involves purchasing a mixture of A and B shares.
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