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Qatar group, Jim Ratcliffe among bidders for Manchester United

Tim Baysinger
Feb 21, 2023

Photo: Richard Heathcote/Getty Image

Prospective bidders are lining up for a chance to buy Manchester United, which should be one of the most-watched sports sales in years.

Why it matters: It's not a matter of if Manchester United will exceed the record $5.2 billion that Chelsea F.C. got — but by how much.

  • The Glazer family has put the floor at 5 billion pounds, which would be over $6 billion.

The latest: Two prospective suitors have publicly made themselves known, with more said to be involved.

  • Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani, the chairman of the Qatar Islamic Bank and the son of the country’s former prime minister, confirmed his bid on Friday.
  • One day later, Ineos chairman Jim Ratcliffe made his offer known.
  • Interest from Saudi Arabia has also been reported — though no confirmed bid has come in yet. Elliott Management is also said to be willing to help finance a bid from a U.S. investor.

The intrigue: Both of the known bids will face scrutiny over UEFA rules that prohibit two clubs with the same owner from competing in the same competition, such as the Champions League.

  • Ratcliffe already owns French club OGC Nice, while France's Paris-St. Germain is owned by the Qatari's sovereign wealth fund. While Sheikh Jassim's bid is reportedly separate, his relationship to the Qatari royal family could create skepticism that his bid is truly separate.
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