Home » Manchester United sales process held up by concerns over Sheikh Jassim’s secrecy?

Manchester United sales process held up by concerns over Sheikh Jassim’s secrecy?

by David O'Neill

Sheikh Jassim’s eleventh hour bid for Manchester United has added yet another twist to the ongoing takeover saga, as it rumbles on through its sixth month.

News from The Athletic this morning has gone some way to providing clarity into the increasingly complex situation, with details of the exchanges between parties coming to light.

What is perhaps most surprising, are the reports that little to no direct communications have taken place between Sheikh and the Raine Group, the merchant bank handling the sale on behalf of the reclusive Glazer family.

The lack of direct communication has apparently come as a surprise to many at Raine, particularly given the late stage of proceedings, and with Sir Jim Ratcliffe honing in on an agreement to take control of Manchester United.

While Ratcliffe was happy to attend the tour of United’s facilities in person, Sheikh Jassim instead sent a delegation including Nine Two Foundation president Shahszad Shabaz and Qatari royal advisor Fady Bakhos.

Sheikh Jassim appears determined to keep himself out of the public eye, giving him an air of secrecy.

But that cloak and dagger approach may well be among the factors holding back the Qatari takeover, with concerns over the speed with which the Premier League would be prepared to ratify a sale to an individual so committed to his own privacy.

With Sheikh Jassim so shrouded, it could take a considerable amount of time for a sale to go through even after agreeing a deal with the Glazers – just look at how long the Saudi bid for Newcastle United took for a reference point for how long these matters can rumble on.

Any further hold up owing to difficulties in dealing with Sheikh Jassim directly could be cause for concern for the Glazers, with several siblings looking to cash out as soon as possible.

Avram and Joel Glazer are known to be somewhat reluctant to sell, but Bryan, Edward, Kevin, and Darcie Glazer are keen to see a conclusion.

As such, the Raine Group are thought to have been committed to establishing the ultimate source of each bidders’ wealth as part of the sales process.

How convincingly Sheikh Jassim has come through that hurdle is unknown, although the friction between the Qatari bid and Raine would suggest that difficulties have occurred along the way.

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