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Manchester United takeover: Sir Jim Ratcliffe completes deal to purchase 25 per cent of club | Football News

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Manchester United takeover: Sir Jim Ratcliffe completes deal to purchase 25 per cent of club | Football News

Sir Jim Ratcliffe has completed a deal to purchase 25 per cent of Manchester United.

An announcement finally came on Christmas Eve, bringing an end to 13 months of talks about a potential takeover of the Old Trafford club.

Ratcliffe is acquiring the interest for $33-a-share (£26) – and he will take control of football operations at the club.

“This will include all aspects of the men’s and women’s football operations and Academies,” a statement said.

Ratcliffe will also nominate representatives for two seats on the Manchester United PLC board and the Manchester United Football Club boards.

The deal, which comes amid a torrid season for United on the pitch, is still to be approved by the Premier League – a process expected to take between six and eight weeks.

Ratcliffe will inject $300m (£237m) into the club for investment in its infrastructure, taking his immediate outlay to roughly $1.5bn (£1.2bn).

What changes will Ratcliffe make?

Ratcliffe is aiming to have big say in how United is run before the transfer window opens in January, with Paul Mitchell in line to become the club’s new sporting director, a role he currently performs at Monaco, having headed up recruitment at Southampton, Tottenham and RB Leipzig.

Jean Claude Blanc – CEO of INEOS Sport and a former executive at Juventus and Paris St-Germain – is under consideration to be chief executive, while cycling mastermind Dave Brailsford will also have a key role at United after carrying out an audit of club operations and transfer business.

Sky Sports News understands Erik ten Hag’s position as head coach is not under immediate threat, but the Dutchman knows results need to improve.

Sir Dave Brailsford's record in cycling
Image:
Sir Dave Brailsford’s record in cycling

United’s home is likely to need far more than £245m to deliver the overhaul that is required to turn it into one of the world’s elite football stadia once more.

The redevelopment will be financed personally by the billionaire and will not add to Manchester United’s existing borrowings.

Why did the deal take so long?

Ratcliffe’s purchase of a 25 per cent stake in the Red Devils comes more than a year after the Glazer family, which has controlled the club since 2005, began formally exploring a sale.

The Financial Times reported earlier on Sunday that Ratcliffe’s investment had been delayed by concerns about protections for minority shareholders.

These concerns have now been overcome, according to insiders.

The deal between the Glazers and Ratcliffe comes after months of negotiations with several potential buyers, including the Qatari businessman Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani, who wanted to acquire full control of the club.

United lost 2-0 at West Ham on Saturday to leave the club facing an uphill struggle to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from the Premier League match between West Ham and Manchester United

Several other key questions remain about United’s future ownership, including whether Ratcliffe will ultimately seek overall control of the club.

Some United fans have expressed disquiet at the prospect of Ratcliffe buying a minority stake given that it paves the way for the Glazers’ continued presence at Old Trafford.

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The family, who paid just under £800m to buy the club in 2005, has remained inscrutable throughout the process and has said nothing of substance to the NYSE since the process of engaging with prospective buyers kicked off.

Earlier iterations of Ratcliffe’s offers for the club, which focused on gaining outright control, included put-and-call arrangements that would become exercisable three years after a takeover to enable him to buy out the remainder of the club’s shares.

The Monaco-based billionaire, who owns the Ligue 1 side Nice, pitched a restructured deal in October in an attempt to unblock the ongoing impasse over United’s future.

In addition to the competing bids from Ratcliffe and Sheikh Jassim, the Glazers received several credible offers for minority stakes or financing to fund investment in the club.

Part of the Glazers’ justification for attaching such a huge valuation to the club resides in the possibility of it gaining greater control in future of its lucrative broadcast rights, alongside a belief that arguably the world’s most famous sports brand can be commercially exploited more effectively.

The Glazers’ tenure has been dogged by controversy and protests, with the absence of a Premier League title since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement as manager in 2013 fuelling fans’ anger at the debt-fuelled nature of their takeover.

Timeline of Man Utd takeover process

  • November 22, 2022: The Glazers confirm they are open to a sale but say other options “including new investment” will be considered.
  • February 17, 2023: Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani make rival bids for Man Utd takeover. Qatari wants to buy 100 per cent of the club.
  • February 18, 2023: US hedge fund Elliott Management lodge proposal for investment in Man Utd.
  • February 28, 2023: Glazers split on sale after bids fail to meet £6bn valuation.
  • March 5, 2023: Sheikh Jassim and Ratcliffe make it through to next stage of the process along with unnamed bidder.
  • March 10, 2023: Elliott Management make it through to the second stage of the Man Utd sale process.
  • March 16 & 17, 2023: Qatari group and Sir Jim Ratcliffe meet Raine Group at Old Trafford before being given access to detailed financial information. Sheikh Jassim stays away.
  • March 22, 2023: Raine extend deadline for second bids after requests from Sheikh Jassim and Ratcliffe. Elliott Management did make minority stake offer before the soft deadline.
  • March 23, 2023: Ratcliffe makes his second bid.
  • March 24, 2023: Sheikh Jassim makes his second bid.
  • April 11, 2023: The Glazers take the sale process to a third round with interested parties asked to submit final offers by end of April.
  • April 28, 2023: Sheikh Jassim makes world-record bid. Ratcliffe also makes his offer before the deadline.
  • May 16, 2023: Sheikh Jassim goes in with fourth bid close to £5bn. INEOS proposal values Man Utd at a higher price but is not for the whole club and would give Glazers chance to keep 20 per cent stake.
  • June 7, 2023: Sheikh Jassim submits a fifth improved bid.
  • October 14, 2023: Sheikh Jassim withdraws from process.
  • October 14, 2023: Sir Jim Ratcliffe set to agree £1.3bn deal for 25 per cent

Neville: How must Man Utd staff feel ahead of Ratcliffe arrival?

Speaking after United’s 2-0 defeat at West Ham, Gary Neville reflected on how the takeover will be affecting staff at the club, with changes expected once Ratcliffe and his team come in.

He told The Gary Neville Podcast: “I said this a few months ago, we know that there are new owners coming in and I said how must that make people inside the club feel?

“We know that the CEO has already left and gone early and you have heard all the reports coming out about what Jim Ratcliffe and Dave Brailsford are going to do.

“You can imagine how the atmosphere must be in there waiting for what will be the inevitable for probably 60 or 70 per cent of the staff. Can you imagine how they must feel? They must all feel, not undermined, they must all feel like ‘let me get out of here quick’.

Carragher: If you want to watch Man Utd play well, go to UKTV Gold.

Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher on The Gary Neville Podcast:

“I think with Jim Ratcliffe coming in – no club has a divine right to win anything, but you have got to make Manchester United box office again.

“He has got to get Manchester United back to being the team everybody wants to watch and is excited by with big games on Sky Sports. If you want to watch Manchester United play well now, you have got to go to UKTV Gold.

“You watch them against Manchester City, you watch them against Liverpool, and they are hanging on for dear life.

“There is a lot of competition in the Premier League but you have got to get them back to being exciting again and a team that people want to watch.”

“Because the reality of it is they will probably have to at some point over the next few months anyway, because there is no doubt a new football director or sporting leader coming in which is what Jim Ratcliffe is. He’s going to make sweeping changes, because it has been 10 years of failure. He’s going to make lots and lots of changes.

“You almost get to the point where you write off this season, you finish as high up the league as you can, it obviously won’t be the Champions League places, but can you get into the Europa League? And just almost forget about it and try and correct it. It’s a really defeatist attitude, but I almost feel like that is where we are at.

“The owners [Glazers] said they were going to sell the club 12 months ago. How they didn’t get that dealt with in the summer so that we started the season afresh [I don’t know].

“They are now going to pass on the football department and Jim Ratcliffe is going to take their main worry away from them and they can just sit there and say ‘it’s not my fault anymore it’s up to him over there’. If Jim Ratcliffe doesn’t succeed, they can still just sit there and have their value in the club.

“If Jim Ratcliffe can sort it out, then great, and hopefully he will then have some sort of exit plan for the Glazer family in the next three or five years. But the Glazers can’t lose now. They are sat there in America like they have always been knowing that the main target won’t be them when it comes to the football, it’s going to be someone else.

“It’s an unbelievable position that they find themselves in. They are the great survivors.”

The Glazers at Man Utd: The story of their turbulent tenure so far

With the Glazers staying at Manchester United as majority owners, Sky Sports’ Dan Sansom takes an in-depth look at the Americans’ turbulent tenure so far…

**FOR USE AS THUMBNAIL IMAGE ON GLAZERS VIDEO ONLY**

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