Billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe Acquires Stake in Manchester United



by FARUK IMAMOVIC

Billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe Acquires Stake in Manchester United
© Getty Images Sport/Stu Forster

Manchester United, one of the most prestigious names in the English Premier League, has welcomed a significant new investor. British petrochemical billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe, through his London-based multinational conglomerate INEOS, purchased a 25% stake in the club.

This move, confirmed by both Manchester United and INEOS, marks a notable shift in the club's ownership dynamics. INEOS detailed the specifics of the transaction in a statement. Ratcliffe will acquire 25% of the club’s Class B shares and up to 25% of its publicly available Class A shares.

Additionally, Ratcliffe plans to invest an extra $300 million into Old Trafford, the club's historic stadium. The Glazer family, which retains the majority ownership of the club, alongside Class A shareholders, will receive $33.00 per share.

This price point is noteworthy, considering that Manchester United shares (MANU) closed at $19.81 on Friday.

A New Chapter for Manchester United

The transaction, still pending approval from the English Premier League, aligns with the strategic objectives outlined by Manchester United's executive co-chairmen and directors, Avram Glazer and Joel Glazer.

They expressed their delight in partnering with Ratcliffe and INEOS, emphasizing their commitment to enhancing Manchester United, with a focus on success across their men's, women's, and Academy teams.

The partnership aims to build a "world-class football operation," leveraging the club's existing off-pitch successes.

This sale comes after more than a year of speculation and rumors surrounding the Florida-based Glazer family's openness to offers. They have owned Manchester United since 2005 and also own the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The process saw several rounds of bids, including one from Qatari investor Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani, who withdrew his bid in October. Under the Glazers' ownership, Manchester United has experienced challenges, particularly in maintaining its former glory.

Since the departure of long-time boss Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013, the club has not won a UEFA Champions League title since 2008 and a Premier League title since 2013. Currently, the team is ranked eighth in the Premier League table.

Ratcliffe, 71, a native of Failsworth, Lancashire, part of Greater Manchester, has long been a supporter of the club. As one of Britain's richest individuals, with a net worth of $19.1 billion according to Bloomberg’s billionaire index, Ratcliffe has also made previous attempts in football club ownership.

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