Manchester United received a fresh Qatari bid overnight – as the battle to purchase the Premier League giants intensifies.
Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani made the offer after asking for a deadline extension on Wednesday.
He joins Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s INEOS, who made his own second formal bid for the club, and comes after parties were given deeper access to United’s finances.
Current owners the Glazer family announced in November they were exploring “strategic alternatives,” which included the possibility of a full sale of the club they have owned since 2005. They believe the club is worth £5.12 billion.
Raine is handling the potential sale after brokering the deal that saw Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital buy Chelsea last year.
It was previously understood the Qatari bidders were determined not to pay over the odds for the club, but that stance has softened in recent days.
Like all the other bidders, Sheikh Jassim is now prepared to overpay for United because of its history and because it hardly – if ever – comes on the market.
What stake does Sheikh Jassim want?
Sheikh Jassim – the son of a former Qatari prime minister and chairman of the Qatar Islamic Bank – sent a delegation to Manchester from London by train earlier this week. Talks were held for more than 10 hours, a lot longer than expected.
The Sheikh and members of his team had been to Old Trafford as fans before, and the focus of this visit was to get a perspective on what they could do with their capital investment regarding infrastructure, youth development and the women’s team.
He plans to buy 100% of the club, while Ratcliffe’s bid is for the Glazers’ share of around 69%.
It also emerged on Thursday that American investment firm Elliott Management bid for a minority stake.
Finnish entrepreneur Thomas Zilliacus has also declared his interest in United. He said he plans to fund 50% of the purchase and ask fans to provide the rest of the money in a shared ownership scheme.