Manchester United takeover latest – Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Qatari investors and who else could bid

February 10, 2023

A ‘soft’ deadline for Man United takeover bids from interested parties to be submitted by is now one week away..

The Raine Group could reportedly receive offers to purchase Manchester United from as many as ‘five serious bidders’ by the end of next week.

In November, United hired the same American investment bank that last year handled the bidding process to take over Chelsea. Raine, in recent weeks, are reported to have imposed a ‘soft’ deadline of February 17, meaning that rival bidders could still be entertained after that date if a better offer were to present itself.

With just one week remaining for interest to be formally registered, here are the expected bidders at this stage of the process. They range from Sir Jim Ratcliffe, who is still the only person to have his interest publicly confirmed, to unnamed groups of individuals from across the world.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe

The British billionaire, who was the founder and remains the chairperson of global chemicals company INEOS Group, officially declared an interest in buying the club last month. A boyhood United supporter, Ratcliffe said to The Times through a spokesperson that “we have formally put ourselves into the process”.

Ratcliffe has previously met with Avram and Joel Glazer and initially expressed an interest in buying the club last August, having seen a last-gasp bid to buy Chelsea rejected in April. The 70-year-old from Failsworth also owns French club OGC Nice and Swiss side Lausanne-Sport, both through INEOS.

Qatari investors

The Daily Mail claim that plans are in place for Qatari investors to make a ‘mega-money’ move for United. Sources cited in these reports suggest that the group of Qatar-based investors comprises ‘private, high-wealth individuals’ based in the country.

The report also adds that the group is ‘separate’ from Qatar Sports Investments (QSI), who have owned French club Paris Saint-Germain since 2011 and more recently, in October last year, purchased a minority stake in Portuguese side Braga. While QSI is affiliated with the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), the country’s sovereign wealth fund, it is claimed that the money behind such a move for United would be from an ‘individual fund’ rather than a state-owned one.

A further report from the Daily Mail claims that there are ‘multiple parties’ from Saudi Arabia that have already been given access to the club’s so-called ‘data room’ to view details of its financials. For that to be granted, those parties would have to have expressed their interest to Raine and also signed confidentiality agreements.

Despite that, there is said to be a lack of clarity as to whether a formal bid will follow. It is also stressed then none of the parties are affiliated with the country’s sovereign wealth fund, Public Investment Fund (PIF), which purchased Premier League rivals Newcastle United some 16 months ago.