Ever since it was confirmed that the Glazer family were willing to do a deal when it comes to their often criticised ownership of English Premier League side Manchester United, two of the main, and long running suitors have been British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s Ineos group, and Qatari banker Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani – who has now reportedly withdrawn from the process after the initial rounds of bidding had been rejected.
Ultimately, he failed to meet their valuation with his 100% offer for the club, and grew increasingly frustrated with the demands they were placing on the deal. It seems the Ineos group are not so concerned on that front, and it appears they are now in pole position to secure a 25% takeover worth a whopping and eye watering £1.3 billion – if approved such a deal would give Sir Jim Ratcliffe full control over the football operations side of the business, and would represent the first stage of a full takeover.
Given what the Glazer’s paid originally, and given the manner of how the deal was structured, there will most certainly be Red Devil’s fans out there absolutely apoplectic at the sums being spoken about, particularly their utter decline on the football pitch in more recent years, but that will certainly not faze the Glazer family.
It is being reported that a United board meeting will now be held on Thursday to discuss the more recent developments, and although it is yet to be understood how such a deal would be structured given the initial minority stake, if it is an acceptable proposal, it could be finalised and passed at that very meeting.
Having initially tabled an offer said to be around the £5 billion mark, it is said Ineos feel that if their first stake in the club gives them control of football operations, it would go some way as to reassure supporters who will undoubtedly be happy that the Glazer’s remain, and an educated guess would state, continue to take money out of the club.
Former United and England right back, Gary Neville, does however, remain sceptical.
“Can this really work and what impact will it have on a struggling organisation?”
He went on to list six conditions that can be read here, that he felt were ‘non-negotiable’ for a takeover, culminating in his thoughts.
“How does a minority stakeholder positively impact the club to achieve the above? Can a minority shareholder have any impact on the above? My preference is and always will be for a Glazer family full exit. They have overstayed their welcome in Manchester yet seem oblivious to this fact.”
There will be many out there, without specific additional conditions and control being passed over, that believe a minority shareholder could never achieve what Neville wants, and fewer still could argue his suggestions are exactly what United need.