The Glazer family are believed to have offered a stake in Manchester United Football Club to Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.
According to The Athletic, the sovereign wealth fund were offered 30% of the club for around £700m in 2019.
Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the governor of PIF, confirmed that the group was offered a stake in a Premier League club.
“In the UK there was a team that approached us on the basis that we take 30 per cent of the ownership, and we don’t interfere at all in terms of managing the club, for £700m,” he said.
Al-Rumayyan expressed his group’s determination to land a major stake in a club in England’s top division.
“Why the English Premier League? Because it’s the best league in the world. No other league competes with it.
“There are 20 teams, three are relegated and three are promoted. The advantage of the Premier League is that any of the 20 teams can beat the best team in the league.”
Early in 2019, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman was heavily reported to be interested in a takeover of Manchester United.
But no deal materialised, although the news that such a significant proportion of the club was offered out by the Glazer family is an indication that things may have gone differently.
Even more interestingly, it suggests that the American ownership has been considering a sale for some time now.
While the 30% stake was offered under a proviso of no interference in terms of managing the club, the fact that it was offered at all implies a loosening of the Glazer grip, whose party line has always been ‘Not for sale’ in the past.
Of course, the PIF ended up taking ownership of Newcastle United instead for around £350m.
But this news may well embolden potential bidders in their determination to tempt the Glazer family to finally sell the club.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s ears might just be perking up.
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