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Manchester United announces deal to sell up to 25% of EPL club to UK billionaire Jim Ratcliffe

by Andrew Wright
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Manchester United Ownership

Manchester United has made a significant announcement, revealing its intention to sell a minority stake of up to 25% in the club to UK billionaire Jim Ratcliffe. This development comes after a decade-long Premier League title drought for the storied football club. The last time Manchester United clinched the Premier League championship was in 2013, under the management of Sir Alex Ferguson.

The move to bring Jim Ratcliffe into the fold is a notable one, as it signifies a shift in ownership dynamics. Ratcliffe, the owner of INEOS, a petrochemicals giant, and one of the wealthiest individuals in the United Kingdom, is set to invest $300 million into Manchester United’s iconic Old Trafford stadium. This substantial investment is divided into two parts, with $200 million provided upon completion of the deal and an additional $100 million expected by the end of 2024. The overall value of the deal, inclusive of the funding injection, is estimated at approximately $1.6 billion.

However, it’s important to note that this transaction is contingent on approval from the Premier League. At the time of the announcement, Manchester United finds itself in eighth place in the Premier League standings and has already been eliminated from European competition. The club’s current manager, Eric ten Hag, faces increasing pressure following a series of disappointing results.

Jim Ratcliffe, who hails from Failsworth in Greater Manchester, originally sought to acquire the majority share of approximately 69% held by the Glazer family, the American owners of Manchester United. Instead, he will now take on a minority stake and assume management responsibility for the football operations of the club. Ratcliffe expressed his commitment to unlocking the club’s potential, both commercially and on the pitch, by leveraging the expertise and resources available within the broader INEOS Sport group.

This transaction is set to be financed by Trawlers Limited, a company wholly owned by Ratcliffe, without incurring any debt. The Glazers’ previous leveraged buyout had drawn criticism from fans for the debt load it placed on the club and the perceived lack of investment.

Despite Ratcliffe’s investment, the Glazers will retain overall control of the club. This outcome has left fans with mixed feelings, as they had hoped for a more substantial change in ownership. The Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST) welcomed the investment but questioned how a minority shareholder could effectively manage the core business of the club.

The sale of this minority stake represents a significant development in the history of Manchester United. Ratcliffe’s background as a lifelong fan of the club and his substantial financial commitment could potentially bring about positive changes both on and off the pitch. However, it remains to be seen how this new ownership arrangement will impact the club’s day-to-day operations and its pursuit of success in domestic and international competitions. Additionally, the transaction is subject to regulatory approvals, and the timing of the announcement has drawn criticism from some quarters.

Overall, this move marks a new chapter for Manchester United, with Jim Ratcliffe’s involvement expected to have far-reaching implications for the club’s future.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Manchester United Ownership

What is the key development in Manchester United’s ownership mentioned in the text?

Manchester United has agreed to sell a minority stake of up to 25% in the club to UK billionaire Jim Ratcliffe, along with a significant investment of $300 million into the club.

Why is this sale significant for Manchester United?

This sale is significant because it represents a shift in ownership dynamics for the club. Jim Ratcliffe, one of the UK’s wealthiest individuals and owner of INEOS, will have a stake in Manchester United and take over the management of its football operations.

How long has Manchester United gone without winning the Premier League?

Manchester United has not won the Premier League since 2013, marking a decade without clinching the title.

Who are the current owners of Manchester United?

The Glazer family, who are American owners, currently hold the majority share of approximately 69% in Manchester United.

What is the total value of the deal with Jim Ratcliffe’s investment?

The total value of the deal, including Jim Ratcliffe’s $300 million investment, is estimated to be around $1.6 billion.

What is the role of Trawlers Limited in this transaction?

Trawlers Limited, a company wholly owned by Jim Ratcliffe, will finance the transaction without incurring any debt.

How do Manchester United fans feel about this ownership change?

Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST) has expressed mixed feelings about the ownership change. While they welcome the investment, some fans had hoped for a more significant shift in ownership.

What is the next step for this ownership change?

The ownership change is subject to regulatory approvals, including approval by the Premier League, and the official announcement via the New York Stock Exchange. This process may take several weeks to complete.

How has the timing of this announcement been received?

The timing of the announcement on Christmas Eve has been criticized by some, including former Manchester United captain Gary Neville, who described it as “truly awful.”

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