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Manchester United sale: Are the Glazers really looking to sell the club?

Manchester United was put up for sale some time ago, but so far the Glazer family, which owns the club, has not accepted any of the billion-dollar offers from potential buyers. Are the Glazers really looking to sell the club?

Ankit Kanaujia
Last updated: 19.07.2023
Manchester United sale Are the Glazers really looking to sell the club

Manchester United was put up for sale some time ago, but so far the Glazer family, which owns the club, has not accepted any of the billion-dollar offers from potential buyers. Britain's richest man Jim Ratcliffe and Qatari Sheikh Jassim are still in the race for United, but do the Glazers really want to sell the club?

Manchester United have been put up for sale after the European Football Super League collapsed, but so far no potential buyers have come close to closing a deal. Qatari Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani has grown tired of negotiating with the Glazers and has recently spoken in the language of ultimatums, while Sir Jim Ratcliffe is still trying to negotiate with the Americans, offering them to stay in the club with a minority stake.

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The main problem with the Manchester United sale was that the Glazers initially overpriced their main asset, saying they wanted £8bn for it. This amount is almost double the real capitalization of the club, and a potential buyer will need several years to recoup the amount that will have to overpay if he wants to accept the conditions of the Glazers.

It is obvious that the family does not want to part with the “cash cow” that feeds them - the Glazers annually withdraw huge amounts of dividends, and in addition, they use VIP services at the expense of the club, such as charter flights to Manchester United matches, etc. Fans joke that every appearance of the Glazers at a United game brings a loss to the club of several million, but it is worth paying tribute to the Americans - it was they who were able to make sure that the club, which has not won trophies worthy of its name on the football field for a long time, remains one of the most successful regarding marketing in the world.

The Glazers' debts will go to the new owner

Another problematic point in the sale / purchase of Manchester United is the debts of the Glazers, which are issued as debts of the club. The potential buyer understands that, along with Manchester United's assets, he also accepts all the debts that the Americans hung on the club when they bought it on credit. Manchester United owes $850m to creditors, with an additional $250m owed to other clubs for buying players on installments, according to United's latest quarterly report.

Sheikh Jassim's club bid says he is ready to pay off all debts immediately, while Ratcliffe's INEOS Corporation suggests it will borrow even more money to refinance these debts, but they will be transferred to investment fund obligations and will cease to appear. in Accounting United. In truth, this is not much different from the Glazers' approach, but purely morally, this option of shifting debts from one pocket to another looks more attractive to fans than the current situation.

Another difference in the approach of the Qatari and British investment funds is that Ratcliffe is ready to buy only a controlling stake in the Glazers, and Sheikh Jassim - including 31% of the shares owned by outside investors who bought United's stake on the New York Stock Exchange in 2012.

But everyone knows that Sir Jim Ratcliffe actually harbors a keen dislike for the stock markets and minority shareholders, and sooner or later will probably buy out the remaining shares, as well as the share of the Glazers, which he is now ready to leave to them. Ratcliffe's offer is by all means more interesting for the Glazers, since they can get more money while keeping some shares.

The race continues no matter what

But so far, the Americans are far from accepting any offer, and Sheikh Jassim was already tired of the fruitless negotiations for United and was ready to leave the race - fortunately, there are other clubs in the Premier League that are on the market, in particular - same Liverpool.

However, some time ago it seemed that there was some progress and the victory of the Qatar bid is inevitable - the Glazers turned to Paris Saint-Germain owner Nasser Al-Khelaifi for help in the sale process, and Jassim nevertheless increased his “last” offer, even verbally threatened to withdraw from the race.

Potential buyers have already “taken the lead” in this race several times, as they have several times claimed to be going to the Glazers with the “last” offer, but the truth is that in this dance of the Glazers, Jassim and Ratcliffe, the price for United is gradually approaching the one that was announced as desired by the Americans back in November. And they will probably still be able to get it, since the billionaires who want to buy Manchester United have already gone too far in this auction to leave them empty-handed.

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