Manchester United sale: Ineos outbids Qatari rivals in battle to buy club

Manchester United sale is almost close as Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Ineos may have moved ahead in the battle to buy Manchester United.

Avignyan Mukhopadhyay
New Update
Manchester United sale| Sportz Point

Manchester United sale is almost close as Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Ineos may have moved ahead in the battle to buy Manchester United after valuing the club higher than their main Qatari rivals.

Although Ratcliffe is seeking to buy only the 69 per cent stake that belongs to the Glazers — and in one proposal is open to Joel and Avram Glazer retaining a stake if he still has full control of the club — it is understood that the offer he submitted before Friday's 10pm deadline for the third and final bids equates to more than that tabled by the group led by Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani, and that Ineos is the only bidder to have valued the club higher than £5 billion.

Manchester United sale | Sportz Point

Ratcliffe is seeking to buy a 69 per cent stake in United. (Image- Reuters)

On Friday evening, sources close to the Qataris said that Sheikh Jassim's offer was marginally in excess of £5 billion, with a pledge to provide additional investment in the club's infrastructure as well as playing staff. However, insiders with knowledge of the process have queried that value and suggested that the Qataris have not submitted an offer of additional funds on top of their bid.

This is not the first time the process has been clouded in confusion. After the second round deadline last month, both of the main bidding groups claimed to have submitted their offers only for it to emerge that they had requested an extension.

On this occasion, both offers were tabled for the Manchester United sale within the timeframe set by the Raine Group, the New York bank appointed by the Glazers to sell the club. It is now clear that Ineos is closer to the £6 billion valuation of the owners. It is understood that Ineos's offer was also higher than the Qataris in the previous round of bids.

This week Raine has asked all the bidders to detail the source of their funds and declare who will ultimately be the owner of United should they prove successful.

Sheikh Jassim, who has formed the Nine Two Foundation to front the Qatari group, is a prominent figure in the banking world with considerable personal wealth but it his father, the former Qatar prime minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, who is regarded as the member of his family who could actually write a cheque for the club. He is one of the richest individuals in the Middle East state.

Read more:

The news that Ratcliffe had presented an option that would enable two of the six Glazer siblings to retain a stake in the club was also potentially significant. United's complex share structure would make the 100 per cent buyout being offered by Sheikh Jassim more straightforward but the proposal put forward by Ratcliffe and his petrochemicals firm, while unpopular with fans, could yet prove a game-changer in the contest to acquire one of the world's biggest sports franchises.

It is anticipated that a preferred bidder will be granted a period of exclusivity in the next ten days and that will decide the Manchester United sale.

Manchester United Premier League