INEOS billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe is yet to clarify whether Manchester United’s existing debt accumulated under the Glazers will be wiped out if he were to emerge successful in his efforts to take over the reins at Old Trafford.
Ratcliffe confirmed in a statement released on Saturday that he had tabled his proposal to take control at the club he has supported since childhood.
The 71-year-old businessman said he wants to put “Manchester back into Manchester United.”
Ratcliffe’s declaration also included his desire to run the Red Devils as a modern club that would be the beacon of English football.
Like Ratcliffe, Qatar’s Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani also announced his participation in the bidding process to get rid of the Glazers and be the new administrator at the club he has supported since the age of 10.
Al Thani’s statement contained the promise of significant investment into the improvement of the men’s team, women’s team and the youth set-up.
The Qatari dignitary also committed to a re-development of Old Trafford and investing in the local area.
A promise that stood out in Al Thani’s statement which many fans liked was that his bid would be debt-free and that his organization would wipe out the Red Devils’ existing debt.
Al Thani wiping out the debt if successful in his takeover attempt was confirmed by Sky Sports reporter Kaveh Solhekol.
Qatari bid for Manchester United would wipe out all the club’s debts. Glazer family’s 2005 £790m leveraged buyout deal was funded with borrowed money which was loaded onto the previously debt-free club. The net debt is still £515m. Qataris would pay it all off.
— Kaveh Solhekol (@SkyKaveh) February 19, 2023
According to The Athletic’s Adam Crafton, INEOS will use debt facilities provided by Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan to aid in their bid for United.
This debt to buy the 20-time English champions will be borne by INEOS and not United as was the case with the Glazers’ takeover in 2005.
Ratcliffe’s stand on the existing debt remains to be seen but as per Crafton, it’s safe to assume that it will remain.
Crafton says, “INEOS say they are bearing any debt required to acquire the club, but aren’t stating what will happen with existing United debt, which leaves presumption it may remain.”
INEOS say they are bearing any debt required to acquire the club, but aren’t stating what will happen with existing United debt, which leaves presumption it may remain
— Adam Crafton (@AdamCrafton_) February 20, 2023
Based purely on finances, this issue could swing many United fans toward the Qatari bid. The debt issue is a contentious matter for United supporters who would wish to see it put behind them and for the club to be free.