INEOS owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe enters race to acquire Manchester United

Sir Jim Ratcliffe

Sir Jim Ratcliffe, boyhood Manchester United fan, and now one of the richest men in the UK, has announced his interest in buying the Red Devils.

United were effectively put on the block on November 23, last year, when US-based owners, the Glazer family, announced they will “consider all strategic alternatives, including new investment into the club, a sale, or other transactions involving the company”.

Today (January 17) billionaire Sir Jim, 70, entered the bidding process after confirming his chemical firm, INEOS, had formally lodged interest with the Glazers.

“We have formally put ourselves into the process,” an INEOS spokesperson said.

INEOS already owns French Ligue One side OGC Nice, Swiss Super League side FC Lausanne-Sport and works with partner club Racing Club Abidjan of Ivory Coast Ligue One.

Last year Sir Jim narrowly missed out on taking control of London side Chelsea after former owner, Roman Abramovich, was sanctioned following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.

His £4.25bn offer was rejected and the club was sold to US billionaire Todd Boehly.

Sir Jim said he then turned his attention to Manchester United, but the Glazers, who have owned the club since 2005, declared, at the time, that they had no intention of selling.

Other potential bidders for the Old Trafford club are believed to include Saudi Arabian investors.

American investment firm Raine Group, which handled Chelsea’s sale last May, is advising United.

It aims to whittle the field down by February, and hopefully conclude a deal in March, although there are no firm deadlines.

However, any potential buyer will have to meet the Glazers’ valuation, should they decided to divest their interest in full, and fund the redevelopment of Old Trafford, or construction of a completely new stadium.

When the Glazers declared their openness to a possible offer last Novembet the club was valued at $4.6bn, or £3.7bn.

Last December, United announced results for the first quarter, to September 30, 2022, that revealed a 13% increase in revenues of £143.7m, but a deeper pre-tax loss of £34.370m, which compared with a pre-tax loss of £19.820m the previous year.

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