British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe publicly confirmed his interest in acquiring Manchester United.
A boyhood fan of the Red Devils, Ratcliffe through a spokesperson declared that he’s an interested party in taking over the reins at Old Trafford.
There are many potential buyers lining up to buy the 20-time English champions as the end of the Glazers era draws ever closer.
However, Ratcliffe is the first to declare his intention.
It has been repeatedly mentioned that the Glazer family are intent on a full takeover of the club within the first quarter of this year.
Beyond the Ineos billionaire, there is also interest from the USA, Asia and the Middle East.
The Telegraph reports that Ratcliffe held talks with United hours before the statement went out today.
“The Telegraph understands the first serious talks took place between Ineos and United just hours before the petrochemicals giant released a statement confirming plans.”
“Having swooped late with a bid during the Chelsea takeover saga last year, Ratcliffe is changing tactics by confirming now that he is in the race. The petrochemicals giant is known to have ruled itself out of an investment at Inter Milan in recent weeks.”
“At United, a price beyond £6 billion has been touted, but insiders remain tight-lipped about the Glazers’ ballpark price. Ratcliffe is known to remain wary about overpaying.”
Ratcliffe walking out of a potential deal may not be a bluff. He initially ditched his pursuit of Chelsea because he thought they were being too greedy – a vice he may soon find in plenty during his dealings with the Glazers.
Ratcliffe buying United would not require him to relinquish ownership of French club, OGC Nice. United and Nice would not be allowed to play each other in Europe under UEFA rules.
This is the major obstacle for Saudi Arabia and Qatar investors who are also eyeing United.
They already have ownership of Newcastle United and Paris Saint-Germain respectively. The Telegraph however warns that while interest from Qatar and Saudi Arabia is being played down, well-placed sources assure that they are firmly in the running to buy United.
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