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Qatari sheikh withdraws bid to buy Manchester United

Qatar Manchester United Reuters/Phil Noble
Qatar’s Sheikh had promised to invest more than $1.7bn to finance new stadium plans, new training centre facilities and buy players

Qatar’s Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani has withdrawn his interest in buying UK football club Manchester United, according to media reports.

Sheikh Jassim, the son of a former prime minister of Qatar, had bid £5 billion ($6.06 billion) for the club, but further talks this week have broken down, BBC Sport reported.

Reuters sources said that Al Thani had informed the Glazer family, which controls Manchester United, that he would not improve on his bid.

He still wants a deal but has informed the Glazer family that “there is no point in remaining in the bidding process following nine months of unsuccessful negotiations”, sources added.

Sheikh Jassim’s bid was a cash offer and would have cleared all the club’s old debt. He had also promised to invest more than $1.7 billion to finance new stadium plans, new training centre facilities and buy players.

British businessman Jim Ratcliffe’s Ineos Group, the other bidder, expects “to complete a deal to buy a minority stake of 25 percent in the club”.

The 70-year-old owner of the chemicals company has a net worth of $15.7 billion.

Record 20-time English champions Manchester United has over 650 million fans worldwide, market research firm Kantar estimated.  

Manchester United were listed fourth in the 26th edition of the global Deloitte Football Money League. The club made revenues of $739.45 million in 2022, up 23 percent year-on-year.

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.

Sheikh Jassim is the chairman of one of Qatar’s biggest banks, Qatar Islamic Bank. His father, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber bin Mohammed bin Thani Al Thani, who is known informally by his initials HBJ, was the prime minister of Qatar from 2007 to 2013.

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