Skip to content Skip to Search
Skip navigation

Qatar’s sheikh sweetens final bid for Manchester United

REUTERS/Tony Obrien
Ineos Chair Jim Ratcliffe would pay over $1.5 billion for the stake in Manchester United if his bid is accepted by the Glazer family

Qatar’s Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani has submitted a new bid, estimated close to £5 billion ($6.31 billion), for Manchester United Football Club.

The sweetened offer intends to beat the bid made by British petrochemicals billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe, UK-based news outlets reported.

Al Thani is offering to buy 100 percent of the club for a price nearer to $6.31 billion, The Times newspaper said.

Sky Sports News reported that the sheikh believed “his bid was very competitive and will bring huge benefits to Manchester United, including clearing nearly £1 billion debt and a separate fund to redevelop Old Trafford”.

Reports last week claimed that a revised offer from Ratcliffe and Ineos Group has supposedly put them in pole position to acquire the club. However, their bid is not for the whole club and will allow the club owner’s Glazer family to hold a 20 percent stake.

The Glazer family last November set an asking price of $6 billion for an outright sale of the club, owned since 2005.    

They have been heavily criticised for their highly leveraged purchase and track record as owners. The club was debt-free ahead of its £790 million takeover and now has debt of £500 million. It has cost more than £1 billion to service the debt.

Manchester United was listed fourth in the latest edition of the global Deloitte Football Money League, released in January. The club made revenues of $739.45 million in 2022, up 23 percent year-on-year, according to Deloitte. 

This included $332 million accumulated through commercial activities, $273 million through the club’s share of broadcasting rights and $135 million from match-day revenues.

Simon Chadwick, professor of sport and geopolitical economy at Skema Business School in Paris, told AGBI in January Qatar’s reported plan to buy a Premier League football club is the natural next step for the host of the 2022 World Cup.

“Qatar needs to move on to the next stage of its plan for sport, in this case by scaling up investments and making their assets work harder for the country,” he said.

“Bottom-line financial considerations are important, though building interdependencies with external partners is more important.”

Dr Robert Butler, co-director of the Centre for Sports Economics and Law at University College Cork in Ireland, added: “I never thought the 2022 World Cup would be the end of Qatari interest in football.”

Latest articles

Aramco pipelines

BlackRock-led investors to refinance Aramco Pipelines stake

Investors in Saudi Aramco’s gas pipeline network, led by BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, are planning to issue $3 billion in bonds to refinance a loan that backed their purchase of a stake in the network.   The consortium of investors took a $13.4 billion bridge loan in 2021 to acquire a 49 percent stake […]

Over the first half of the year Sanad Group signed deals with international airlines including Asiana Airlines and Deucalion Aviation

Mubadala-backed Sanad Group reports 53% revenue growth

Sanad Group, the Abu Dhabi-based global aerospace engineering and leasing company, has seen revenues increase by more than half over the first six months of the year. Figures released to AGBI show revenue totalling AED2.3 billion ($620 million) was reported in the first half of the year, up from AED1.5 billion over the same period […]

Malaysia’s HSS Engineers Berhad and its emirati consultancy HSS signed the deal top oversee construction with the Baghdad municipality

UAE company in joint venture to build Baghdad metro

A Malaysian engineering company and its UAE affiliate have jointly won a $316 million contract to oversee the construction of the new Baghdad metro. The building of the planned 148-kilometre network and its 64 stations across the Iraqi capital was slated to begin this month and end in 2029. This timeline might be delayed, however, […]