Manchester Utd bid process extended as Wednesday deadline slides

Manchester United's Old Trafford ground

Two suitors of Premier League giant Manchester United have been granted an extension to submit their bids.

Failsworth-born Sir Jim Ratcliffe, owner of chemical giant INEOS, and Qatar-based Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani are the only parties to have broken ground and declared an interest in the outright purchase of the Old Trafford club.

Up to three other parties, including Saudi Arabian interest, are believed to have considered a partial investment in the club, leaving current owners, the Glazer family, in control, much to the chagrin of Manchester United supporters.

Sir Jim and the the Sheikh were believed to have submitted their bids by the 9pm deadline on Wednesday, March 22. However, it is reported they failed to do so, leading to American investment firm Raine Group, which is handling the bids process, granting an unspecified extension.

Both parties are understood to have tabled bids of around £5bn – a world record for a sporting organisation – which is below the Glazers’ £6bn valuation, despite a market capitalisation of around £4bn.

Earlier this week Sir Jim declared he would not pay “a stupid price” for his boyhood club.

Both he and the Qatari party visited Old Trafford and the Carrington training ground last week as part of their proposals to Raine Group.

It is considered unlikely the Glazers will achieve a £6bn sale as both the Old Trafford stadium and Carrington are both in need of major investment. The club is currently looking at redevelopment options, or a complete rebuild of the stadium.

The next stage of the process is expected to be either a final bidding round, or granting one party exclusivity to carry out due diligence of the club’s books.

Supporters are opposed to the current owners after their 2005 highly leveraged £790m takeover loaded the club with debt, which stood at £514.9m at the end of the June 30, 2022 financial year.

The Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST) has demanded that any new bidder eradicate United’s debt burden and operate a governance structure more akin to a UK public company, but also offer fans the opportunity to invest.

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