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Billionaire Jim Ratcliffe makes first official move in race to buy Manchester United; Details on his bid

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Billionaire Jim Ratcliffe makes first move in race to buy Manchester United

Jim Ratcliffe, one of Britain’s richest men, has made his intentions to take over Manchester United public.

The first substantive conversations between Ineos and United took place just hours before the petrochemicals behemoth issued a statement confirming the deal.

In November, it was revealed how the owner was poised to make an approach. Last week, it was revealed how he was moving forward with an indicative bid.

“We have formally entered the process,” an Ineos spokeswoman now confirms. Formal bids, however, will not be invited until the middle of next month, as announced on Friday. There is also strong interest in the Middle East, Asia, and the United States.

Jim Ratcliffe, one of Britain’s richest men, has made his intentions to take over Manchester United public.

The first substantive conversations between Ineos and United took place just hours before the petrochemicals behemoth issued a statement confirming the deal.

In November, it was revealed how the owner was poised to make an approach. Last week, it was revealed how he was moving forward with an indicative bid.

“We have formally entered the process,” an Ineos spokeswoman now confirms. Formal bids, however, will not be invited until the middle of next month, as announced on Friday. There is also strong interest in the Middle East, Asia, and the United States.

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Ratcliffe, on the other hand, is the first billionaire to publicly confirm that he plans to pursue the club again, having previously failed to advance past talks with the Glazers last year.

Other potential investors from around the world will make their bids for the athletic behemoth public in the coming weeks.

The clock is already ticking on a deal, as top authorities are expected to issue an invitation for formal offers in mid-February. Avram Glazer, United’s co-owner, travelled to the World Cup in Doha last month and is in Davos this week, where the world’s political and commercial elites are gathering.

United has claimed that the lounge exists to amuse clients and partners, not to attract buyers. The Glazers intend to close the deal before the end of the current season. Given this, variable pricing based on Champions League qualification are likely  to be factored into offers from Ratcliffe and others. 

However, interested parties emphasize that it is unclear whether the Glazers will end their highly contentious 18-year ownership. United is anticipated to notify interested parties in the coming days that official bids for total buyouts and minority holdings will be accepted next month.

There looks to be some wiggle room around the mid-February deadline, but the club remains committed to closing a deal in the first quarter or before the end of April.

Given competing interests at Newcastle United and Paris Saint-Germain, Saudi and Qatari ministers have previously played down the likelihood of a state-backed acquisition.

However, some credible sources have cautioned against dismissing the two countries. Much of the buying spree for Chelsea was motivated  by America last spring, and, while there is once again keen appetite in the US, there have been conversations with a host of wealthy Arabic investors as well as interest from Asia.

Ratcliffe, who swooped late with a proposal during the Chelsea takeover controversy last year, is altering tactics by revealing his participation in the competition now. In recent weeks, the petrochemicals behemoth is said to have ruled itself out of a possible investment in Inter Milan.

A price in excess of £6 billion (€6.8 billion) has been floated at United, but sources remain tight-lipped about the Glazers’ ballpark figure. Ratcliffe is well-known for being leery of overpaying.

He had failed in his late summer offer to buy Chelsea, primarily because he had walked away from talks because he thought the team was being too greedy.

Ratcliffe has been a fan of Manchester United since he was a child, and he attended the 1999 Champions League final.

Premier League

Taking up the Old Trafford club would not necessarily imply Ineos would have to sell French club OGC Nice. They would not, however, be permitted to play against each other in Europe under UEFA rules. Ineos has made investments in Formula One and cycling, and their football clubs include the Swiss club Lausanne.

United has spent more than £1.1 billion servicing the Glazers’ leveraged takeover in 2005, while the Americans have collected approximately £465 million in share sales and the club’s gross debt remains staggeringly high at £680 million.

Manchester United CEO Richard Arnold has stated that any new owners in the club will be urged to work closely with fans and expressed hope that a potential complete or partial sale would be a “good” move forward.

Taking up the Old Trafford club would not necessarily imply Ineos would have to sell French club OGC Nice. They would not, however, be permitted to play against each other in Europe under UEFA rules. Ineos has made investments in Formula One and cycling, and their football clubs include the Swiss club Lausanne.

United has spent more than £1.1 billion servicing the Glazers’ leveraged takeover in 2005, while the Americans have collected approximately £465 million in share sales and the club’s gross debt remains staggeringly high at £680 million.

Manchester United CEO Richard Arnold has stated that any new owners in the club will be urged to work closely with fans and expressed hope that a potential complete or partial sale would be a “good” move forward.

Billionaire Jim Ratcliffe makes first move in race to buy Manchester United

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