Billionaire Jim Ratcliffe has successfully acquired a 25% stake in Manchester United through his chemical conglomerate, Ineos Group. The $1.3 billion deal, which valued the club at approximately $5.4 billion, concluded a competitive bidding process that saw Ratcliffe outmaneuver rival offers from petro-states and hedge funds. The sale initiated by the Glazer family over a year ago finally came to an end with Ratcliffe’s entry into the ownership circle.Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
Contrary to initial expectations of a $6 billion valuation, Ratcliffe’s purchase fell slightly below, marking a significant development in the saga that often resembled a high-stakes sports event rather than a business deal. The decision to involve Ratcliffe, one of Britain’s wealthiest individuals, concluded a prolonged negotiation period and introduced a new chapter for Manchester United.
Ratcliffe’s acquisition involves a $300 million investment into the club, alongside securing two board seats for new investors. The deal also puts an end to a year-long battle with Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani, who sought outright control of the club but couldn’t match the Glazers’ valuation.
Previously in contention, the Qatari group withdrew their offer in October, citing differences with the investment bank Raine Group, in charge of the sale. Ratcliffe’s triumph not only solidifies his presence in the sporting world but also follows a failed attempt to purchase Chelsea FC last year.
The Glazers’ decision to retain ownership is likely to provoke discontent among fans who have long protested against their tenure. Malcolm Glazer’s leveraged buyout in 2005 burdened the club with significant debts, and despite initial success, resentment grew after the departure of coach Alex Ferguson in 2013.
Ratcliffe, known for his self-made billionaire status, now faces the challenge of revitalizing a club that has struggled in recent years. With ownership stakes in OGC Nice, Team Sky (cycling), and a share in the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One team through Ineos, Ratcliffe expresses a shared ambition to see Manchester United reclaim its top-tier status in English, European, and world football.
The conclusion of this ownership transition raises questions about the future trajectory of the club under Ratcliffe’s leadership, as fans and the football community eagerly await the changes that may unfold.