The Glazer family are welcoming a third round of bids for Manchester United – sparking fears that they intend to cling on to ownership of the club.
A Qatari banker, Sheikh Jassim, Ineos founder and United fan Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Finnish entrepreneur Thomas Zilliacus have all lodged offers to takeover the club thought to be worth a minimum of £3 billion – however, those are short of the Glazers’ valuation of £5-6 billion.
So the American family have confirmed that they will be opening up the bidding floor for a third time until April 28 – presumably in an attempt to land improved bids from their current suitors or extra interest from elsewhere.
It has also been suggested that the Glazers are instead seeking equity investment at a level that would enable them to finance the club without relinquishing their majority shareholding – a scenario that has reportedly attracted the interest of the Elliott Investments group.
It has been reported that as many as seven private investors are willing to provide capital that would see them secure a minority share only.
With the Glazers seemingly in no rush to sell up, the immediate future of Manchester United does not look as bright as perhaps it should. The club’s owners, be it the American family or anyone else, will have to invest £1 billion or more on renovating Old Trafford – the stadium’s disrepair leaving it likely to miss out on hosting Euro 2028 games if the British and Irish bid is successful.
And the current stalemate – only likely to be resolved if Jassim, Ratcliffe or Zilliacus bid closer to the £5 billion valuation – means that any takeover is unlikely to happen before the start of the 2023/24 season, which will hamper Erik ten Hag’s ability to remodel the Manchester United squad in the transfer market.
Shoddy and Classless
Manchester United legend Gary Neville has not been backwards in coming forward with his disdain for how the Glazers have handled the takeover process.
He took to Twitter to describe them as ‘classless’ for opening up a third round of bidding, and suggested that the family had even made a ‘pact’ that would ensure all five of them walked away from any deal with at least £1 billion.
Taking it to a 3rd round is just classless. The market has obviously not given them the answer they want! It’s like they’ve made a pact to each other that they won’t go for less than £1bn each family member. (5 of them). If they stay in after all this it will be toxic!
— Gary Neville (@GNev2) April 11, 2023
Neville also suggested that United fans would make it ‘unbearable’ for the Glazers if they do decide to stay, and suggested that any private equity firms that do invest a minority share – which would effectively pay for redevelopment work at Old Trafford – would suffer ‘brand damage’ as a result.