Manchester United takeover rumours: The Red Devils are reportedly negotiating with Sheikh Jassim in a $6billion-plus sale talks

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Manchester United takeover rumours: Here is an update of the ongoing discussions between the Glazers and Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani

According to sources, Manchester United is in discussions with a consortium led by Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani of Qatar to grant them exclusive rights in the negotiations for the sale of the club, which is valued at over $6 billion. 

Although a deal is not yet confirmed, this development is a significant step forward for Sheikh Jassim, who is the son of Qatar’s former prime minister and a wealthy individual in the Gulf state, in his pursuit to acquire the renowned sports brand.

According to anonymous sources, the Glazer family, who own minority stakes in Manchester United and control the club through a dual-class share structure, would be selling their shares as part of a proposed deal. 

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The Glazers are said to be more inclined towards a bid from Qatari investors rather than a bid from British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe, who had offered a deal where the Glazers would retain some interest in the club. During an exclusivity period, Manchester United would only be allowed to negotiate with Sheikh Jassim and would not be able to consider any other offers. The length of this exclusivity period is unknown. 

However, the situation is subject to change, as a new bid from Ratcliffe could potentially disrupt Sheikh Jassim’s exclusivity. The sources have requested anonymity due to the confidential nature of the matter, and representatives for Manchester United and Sheikh Jassim have not yet commented on the situation.

Shares of Manchester United surged by up to 15% following the news, and were trading 10% higher at $25.53 in afternoon trading in New York on Thursday. If the deal goes through, it would be one of the largest ever in the sports industry, comparable to the recent sale of the National Football League’s Washington Commanders. 

This potential deal would also offer a significant premium compared to other soccer transactions. For instance, last year’s acquisition of Chelsea Football Club was valued at $3.1 billion, which was 5.7 times its revenue for the previous financial year. In contrast, a sale for over $6 billion would value Manchester United at more than 10 times its annual revenue from last year, according to Refinitiv data. 

As the record 20-time English champions, Manchester United boasts a global fan base of over 650 million, as reported by market research firm Kantar. Many of these fans have been calling for a change in ownership.

The Glazers have led to a significant decline in the club’s performance, as they have only won one top-flight title since Alex Ferguson’s final season in 2012-13. 

Although they did win the League Cup this season, their third-place finish in the league, 14 points behind Manchester City, highlights the need for a major turnaround. While some fans may see a new Qatari owner with deep pockets as a quick solution to bridge the gap with Manchester City, others are concerned about Qatar’s human rights record. 

Several Middle Eastern countries have faced criticism for using sports investments to improve their image, such as Qatar hosting the World Cup in 2022 and Qatar Sport Investments owning Paris St Germain. 

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund also supports the breakaway LIV Golf Series and owns Newcastle United in the Premier League.

READ ALSO: Manchester United takeover rumours: Bidders are confident that a new owner would be named by end of the week

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