Manchester United looked set for Qatari ownership but Sir Jim Ratcliffe has made a huge move in an attempt to realise his own interest.
On Tuesday The Peoples Person brought you the news that an independent group of investors from the Gulf state were determined to take over from the Glazers.
With claims of an eye-watering financial might, it appeared that Ratcliffe, the first to publicly declare his interest in purchasing United, stood no chance of competing.
However, the INEOS founder will not be going down without a fight and has enlisted in the help of two of the biggest names in banking to advise him on his bid for the Red Devils.
According to reliable finance outlet Bloomberg, both JP Morgan Chase & Co and Goldman Sachs Group Inc have been hired to aid Ratcliffe in putting together a competitive bid that would see off interest from the likes of the Qatari investors.
Bloomberg reports that the Wall Street banks are assessing the feasibility of an offer for the club.
It would be expected that, if there is a way in which Ratcliffe can put together an offer approaching the Glazers’ valuation, the banking giants would be tasked with helping him find it. For one thing, JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs would be willing to cover the value of Manchester United’s existing debt, which stands at around $800m, as part of the bid.
The worry is, of course, that the INEOS chairman may well be advised against the pursuit, particularly given the asking price that United’s current owners have placed on the club is believed to far exceed its market value.
With the added wrinkle of competition against Gulf state investors and American consortiums, that could be a real worry for United fans.
Many would prefer a Manchester United fan who genuinely cares about the future of the club to take over from the Glazers, which would leave fans suspicious of US investment groups.
Meanwhile the questionable human rights records and concerns over ‘sportswashing’ would be a difficult pill to swallow should the Qatari state be involved.
Ratcliffe comes without either worry, and his open support for United and repeated admission that they would be his dream sporting acquisition have him down as the preferred candidate to succeed the Glazers in the eyes of many.
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