The INEOS group, under the leadership of Sir Jim Ratcliffe, is edging closer to purchasing a minority stake in Man United – but what would this (partial, for now) takeover seek to achieve?
A bidding war has been taking place amid much furore ever since the Glazer family put the Red Devils up for sale in November 2022. Two frontrunners quickly emerged – Sir Jim Ratcliffe, the British billionaire, and Qatari businessman Sheikh Jassim.
However, over the weekend, Sheikh Jassim withdrew from the process. He had tabled a $5bn offer for a complete takeover of Man United, but the Glazers deemed this insufficient. This is despite the club coming in at a $3.3bn value on the New York Stock Exchange.
So, what now? Instead of a complete sale, the US owners of the Red Devils appear close to selling a minority stake in Man United. Per Sky Sports, Sir Jim Ratcliffe is nearing an agreement to buy a 25% stake in the Old Trafford club for around £1.3bn.
This offer is currently awaiting approval from United’s board, with multiple reports suggesting that this could happen on Thursday. If their bid is successful, Sir Jim and INEOS have some key issues that they want to address…
What is INEOS’ plan with their minority stake in Man United?
The majority of Red Devils fans are clearly still frustrated at the much-maligned ownership’s continuation. They have frequently protested against the Glazers; with a full sale looking unlikely, these are likely to continue.
To combat this, INEOS want a key element of operations to come under their control. Per BBC Sport, Sir Jim’s corporation aims to handle the sporting side of the business. Their target would be to bolster United’s on-pitch performance. If successful, they could reassure fans that this investment benefits the club.
But what else is on their agenda? The Times reports that INEOS are also looking to invest funds to renovate Old Trafford. As well as a refurbishment of the Theatre of Dreams, the Group also wants to increase its capacity.
And not by just a few thousand; the target is to hit 90,000 – adding 13,000 extra seats to the existing stadium. If they do this, then United will have the joint-largest stadium in the UK, alongside Wembley.
How likely is a full Man United takeover?
The reality of the Glazers leaving anytime soon appears more and more unlikely. Following Sheikh Jassim’s withdrawal, zero offers currently stand for a complete takeover of Man United.
INEOS may look to this in the future, though. If, with their 25% stake, they can help United challenge for top honours once more, Sir Jim and his Group may feel ready to take that next step. Other reports also claim that this minority purchase is the first step in the process of a potential – albeit gradual – full takeover.
There is still hope for the future yet. But for now, at least, the Glazers are sticking around at Old Trafford.
Featured image credit: Getty