Soccer

Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s Man Utd share purchase set to be announced early next week

Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s purchase of a 25 per cent stake in Manchester United is very likely to be confirmed early next week (Peter Byrne/PA)
Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s purchase of a 25 per cent stake in Manchester United is very likely to be confirmed early next week (Peter Byrne/PA) Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s purchase of a 25 per cent stake in Manchester United is very likely to be confirmed early next week (Peter Byrne/PA)

Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s purchase of a 25 per cent stake in Manchester United is very likely to be announced early next week.

Confirmation of the investment by the 71-year-old’s Ineos Group would conclude a saga which has lasted more than a year, and sources have indicated that an announcement is strongly expected to be just days away.

The Glazer family who own United first announced on November 22, 2022 their intention to undertake a strategic review of their options, which included the possibility of them selling the club.

United fans have regularly protested about the Glazers' ownership since their leveraged buyout in 2005
United fans have regularly protested about the Glazers' ownership since their leveraged buyout in 2005 United fans have regularly protested about the Glazers’ ownership since their leveraged buyout in 2005 (Richard Sellers/PA)

Many United fans, who have resented the Americans’ involvement in the club since their leveraged takeover in 2005, welcomed that news and until October of this year a buyout looked possible, with Ratcliffe and Qatari businessman Sheikh Jassim publicly in the running.

Sheikh Jassim withdrew his bid for full control of the club on October 14 and Ratcliffe’s focus has now shifted to taking a significant minority stake.

The deal is set to involve Ratcliffe purchasing a sufficient number of B shares from the Glazer family to secure 25 per cent of company voting rights.

Each B share carries 10 votes, whereas A shares carry one vote per share. The Glazers have hitherto owned all the B shares in United, affording them 95 per cent of the overall voting rights.

The Ineos Group is expected to pay in the region of £1.25bn for its stake in United
The Ineos Group is expected to pay in the region of £1.25bn for its stake in United The Ineos Group is expected to pay in the region of £1.25bn for its stake in United (Peter Byrne/PA)

Ratcliffe’s Ineos Group is expected to pay in the region of £1.25billion for the share purchase, while also acquiring significant control over footballing operations.

It has also been reported that Ratcliffe is prepared to invest a further £245million to improve club infrastructure.

The deal had been expected to be done during the November international break, but that came and went and the one-year milestone was passed almost a fortnight ago.

The club announced on November 15 that Richard Arnold was stepping down as chief executive.

Sources close to Ineos indicated they were not involved in Arnold’s departure, but it seems likely that further change will be afoot once the deal is signed.