Manchester United sells 25% ownership to Jim Ratcliffe

File photo dated 17-03-2023 of Sir Jim Ratcliffe at Old Trafford. Aaron Ramsey has described prospective Manchester United owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe as 'very passionate' in his desire to take his Nice team 'all the way to the top'. Issue date: Monday March 20, 2023. (Press Association via AP Images)

Sir Jim Ratcliffe bought a 25% stake in Manchester United.Peter Byrne/Press Association/APCNN — 

Manchester United announced Sunday that British petrochemical billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe purchased a 25% stake in the famed English Premier League soccer club.

The sale was confirmed by Manchester United and Ratcliffe-controlled INEOS, a London-based multinational conglomerate.

INEOS said in a statement that Ratcliffe will acquire 25% of the club’s Class B shares and up to 25% of its publicly available Class A shares “and provide an additional $300 million intended to enable future investment into Old Trafford,” the club’s historic stadium. The Glazer family, which owns the majority of the club, and Class A shareholders will receive the same price of $33.00 per share, the club said. On Friday, shares of Manchester United (MANU) closed at $19.81.

In May, Forbes valued Manchester United at $6 billion, just behind Real Madrid as the world’s most valuable soccer club. Shares of Manchester United had been down nearly 13% in 2023.

The deal still requires approval from the English Premier League.

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“We are delighted to have agreed (to) this deal with Sir Jim Ratcliffe and INEOS,” said Avram Glazer and Joel Glazer, Manchester United’s executive co-chairmen and directors, in a statement. “As part of the strategic review we announced in November 2022, we committed to look at a variety of alternatives to help enhance Manchester United, with a focus on delivering success for our men’s, women’s and Academy teams.”

That statement added that “the joint ambition is to create a world-class football operation building on the Club’s many existing strengths, including the successful off-pitch performance that it continues to enjoy.”

The sale comes after over a year of rumors that the Florida-based Glazer family, which has owned the club since 2005 and also owns the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, was interested in accepting offers. There have been multiple rounds of bids, which had included Qatari investor Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani, who withdrew his bid in October, according to multiple reports.

Manchester United has struggled in recent years under the Glazer family’s ownership. The club, which have had four full-time managers since long-time boss Sir Alex Ferguson stepped down in 2013, have not won a UEFA Champions League title since 2008, and have not captured a Premier League title since 2013.

Manchester United are currently eighth in the Premier League table.

Ratcliffe, 71, was born in Failsworth, Lancashire, which is part of Greater Manchester. He has described himself as “a local boy and a lifelong supporter” of Manchester United. Ratcliffe, one of Britain’s richest men with a net worth of $19.1 billion, according to Bloomberg’s billionaire index, previously launched a failed bid for London club Chelsea, which fetched $5.3 billion in May 2022.

Ratcliffe also owns soccer clubs OGC Nice in France and FC Lausanne-Sport in Switzerland.

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