Manchester United takeover news: How much is the new Qatari bid?
The Glazer family have reportedly set a Wednesday evening deadline for all prospective owners to submit their final bids.
Reports from England suggest that Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al-Thani is set to table an improved offer for Manchester United in a bid to clinch the biggest purchase in sports history.
The Mirror claims that the Sheikh Jassim, a member of the Qatari royal family, will submit a bid of £5.5 billion ($6.7bn) on Wednesday. The report adds that the Glazers have set a deadline of 9pm on Wednesday for any prospective bidders.
So far the only major rival to have emerged in the race is British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe. Both he and Sheikh Jassim’s initial bids were thought to be around £4.5 billion ($5.5bn), far short of the Glazers’ £6 billion ($7.3bn) target.
The Qatari bid looks the most likely to succeed at this stage, with the Glazers finally showing some willingness to sell after nearly two decades at the club. Representatives for Sheikh Jassim met with chief executive Richard Arnold and other members of the Manchester United hierarchy last week to discuss the proposed takeover.
What next if the Qatari bid for Manchester United is accepted?
If the Glazers stick to the Wednesday evening deadline things could start to move very quickly in the coming days and weeks. The bidding process is being overseen by US investment bank Raine, which will study the bids and select a preferred bidder.
That chosen bidder will then be granted further access to the club’s financial and legal documents in a process known as due diligence. If they are happy to proceed with the terms as submitted, the matter will then be passed to the Glazer family and their representatives to complete the deal.
The Qatari bid is thought to cover a 100% buyout of the club, not just the 69% that is currently owned by members of the Glazer family. The club trades publically on the New York Stock Exchange and so a significant proportion is currently owned by outside investors.
One potential obstacle could be protests from sections of the Manchester United fan base who oppose Qatari ownership. Sheikh Jassim is a member of the Qatari royal family and chairman of one of the nation’s biggest banks.
This has led to accusations of ‘sportswashing’ and a series of protest from fans in recent weeks. The likes of Manchester City, Newcastle United and Paris Saint-Germain are all owned by organisations with links to oil-rich Gulf States.
Kathryn Fletcher, Manchester United fan and organiser of a major protest against Qatari ownership, told the Independent: “I’m part of a group of United fans who are deeply concerned about a Qatari takeover of our club.
“Manchester United’s charter says suppliers must not use forced labour and must practice ‘universal respect for human rights and freedoms for all, without discrimination of age, disability, gender or sexual orientation’ - how is this compatible with Qatari ownership?”
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