The Sheikh has placed a ‘take it or leave it’ Red Devils takeover bid .There have already been three rounds of bidding with a deadline for final offers set last month In an attempt to see off competition from rival Sir Jim Ratcliffe and conclude a deal for total ownership of the Premier League giants to end a protracted saga – Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani has submitted a final, improved bid.
In a seismic development, the Qatari’s offer is believed to be significantly improved on his first, although it is still thought to value United at a lower price than Ratcliffe.
However, Sheikh Jassim’s bid is for total control with the fee to be paid now. It would instantly clear the club’s debt, which at the last count was around 615 million euros. The offer also promises significant investment in the playing squad and the upgrade or rebuild of Old Trafford.
It was hoped that a preferred bidder would be chosen last week, with the clock ticking to the opening of the transfer window and United’s squad in need of strengthening. But talks have been ongoing and earlier today Sheikh Jassim made a further move in a last-ditch attempt to seize control of the club. It had appeared that British petrochemicals billionaire Ratcliffe was in a stronger position.
While his offer was not for 100 percent of the club’s shares, it did value United higher than the Qatari. Ratcliffe has also offered executive co-chairmen Joel and Avram Glazer the opportunity to stay with a partial stake for two or four years before finally exiting.
That prospect was seen as desirable to the brothers, who are thought to be keen on staying in some capacity at Old Trafford ahead of finally cashing out. It remains to be seen if Ratcliffe’s Ineos Group will respond to the latest development. Talks with all parties are thought to be continuing.
Should Ratcliffe succeed, one of his proposals is to take a 50 percent share, which would lead to a gradual takeover that values the club at around 7 billion euros. The process is being overseen by Raine Group, the New York-based merchant bankers who managed the sale of Chelsea last year.