Sir Jim Ratcliffe strikes deal with Glazers to acquire 25% of Manchester United – Man United News And Transfer News

The long-awaited takeover of Manchester United is about to start, but it will not be completed for some time.

As reported here earlier, it has been widely publicised that Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al Thani has withdrawn from the process, leaving Sir Jim Ratcliffe and his INEOS company as the last man standing.

According to The Times and The Mail, Sir Jim has agreed a deal with the current owners, the Glazers, which will see him take just a 25% share of the club.

This is understood to be the “first step toward a gradual takeover” that will eventually see INEOS become majority shareholders and therefore de facto owners of the Manchester club.

“Ratcliffe and his petrochemicals firm, Ineos, will pay up to £1.3 billion for an initial 25 per cent stake, with the agreement expected to be ratified at a board meeting this week,” The Times reports.

“Ratcliffe’s initial offer valued the club at more than £5 billion, a world record price for a sports franchise. A willingness to allow the Glazers to keep a stake has also been significant.”

There is no explanation from The Times as to what and when the next steps would be toward a majority stakeholding, or indeed if that would be the case.

The Mail leads with the headline that it is stage one of a full takeover but there is little content in their article beyond saying “Should Ratcliffe, originally from Failsworth, Oldham, eventually complete his purchase it would see a world record figure for a sports franchise.”

The outlet also says the deal will be ratified in a board meeting in the coming week.

United fans who have been protesting Glazer ownership since they took control of the club eighteen years ago will be horrified at what looks like the worst possible outcome for them.

Sir Jim’s investment will, presumably, allow the much-maligned American tycoons to stay in control when it appeared they had run out of options.

It may be that the deal will include an obligation for the Glazers to sell the rest of their shares to INEOS within a certain timeframe, thus practically ensuring that their ownership is simply coming to a phased end.

However, that would still entail years more of the status quo, plunging into doubt issues such as repair or rebuilding of the decaying Old Trafford stadium, improved training facilities, increased transfer budgets and a better and more streamlined decision-making process.

There have been so many twists and turns in this drawn-out saga that it is hard to predict whether this is the beginning of the end. But if it is, then it is certainly not the outcome that many people would have wanted.

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