Qatar tipped as preferred Man Utd bidder with takeover ‘on track’
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Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani’s Qatari bid to complete a Manchester United takeover has been backed to be the Glazers’ preferred option. The process has entered the business end, with Sir Jim Ratcliffe and INEOS posing as Sheikh Jassim’s main rivals to take control at Old Trafford.
The Qatari banker’s proposal is for a full takeover and would eclipse the £4.8billion deal to sell NFL outfit Washington Commanders.
But his third and final offer reportedly fell short of the Glazer family’s valuation, said to be around £6bn.
And Ratcliffe’s INEOS bid involves him buying just over 50 per cent of United’s shares, therefore inheriting control, while allowing Joel and Avram Glazer to keep a 20 per cent stake in the club.
However, sports finance expert Dr Dan Plumley believes that the American owners, widely unpopular among the Red Devils fanbase, will still be tempted to accept Sheikh Jassim’s deal.
Speaking exclusively to Express Sport, with Grosvenor Sport, Plumley admitted his ‘gut feeling’ was that the Glazers would prefer a full takeover for more money.
He said: “I think the decisive factor is always simply money when it comes down to it. If not the best offer on the table, it’ll be the one that is slightly preferred based on the finances behind it.
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“If that is the price (£5/6bn) that the Glazers are wanting or at least are willing to sell at for a full takeover, let’s say, my gut feeling on it, and you know you’re always speculating slightly, but I just think the Qatar bid is probably slightly preferred at the minute because it’s a full takeover.
“Also, through the connections of that owner, you know that you could get access to funds further down the line to build the club because you’ve got to look at infrastructure, you’ve got to look at squad development, etc.
“It’s not just the takeover price, it’s all the other stuff that comes with it, so it does feel like that’s the one that has the most clout.”
Initial reports after the Glazers announced their intention to seek investment in November claimed the timeline for a takeover was before the summer transfer window.
And despite delays throughout the process, Plumley still believes a takeover is on track to be completed on time for United’s new owners to arrive and make a splash in the market.
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“I think that’s always been the marker with this one [before the summer transfer window]. You have to look at that in the context of the November deadline in the first instance,” Plumley explained.
“It’s not unusual for these things to go that long, and actually, you will probably argue when you’ve got a £5/6 billion takeover in place that it does need to take time.
“You should be doing the full background checks all the way around. That’s the kind of time element to it, it might feel like it’s dragged on from fan’s point of view, but it was always likely to play out that way.
“It all seemed to be pointing towards a deal being done before the start of the next window so that the new owners potentially or investors could have plans in place for the summer and moving forward.
“I think we’re still on that timeline. I know it probably feels like we’ve been talking about it forever, but it seems to be that we’re moving towards that time scale still.”
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