Last week saw the Manchester United ownership derby get going in earnest as not one, but two would be owners submitted sealed bids to buy the club ahead of last Friday’s 5 p.m. ET deadline for offers to be registered with Raine Group, the United States based investment bank that is managing and overseeing the potential sale of the club.
It is the same I-bank that oversaw the £2.5 billion sale of Chelsea this past May. It is a “soft deadline” though, as other bidders can still come in.
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We’ll cover the two groups to make an offer, as well as a third consortium, who wish to enable the Glazer family staying put. Let’s start with the premise that the Glazers aren’t 100% fully ready to sell.
As much as it pains most of the fan base to hear, this is just reality, as there have been widespread reports that Avram and Joel Glazer just want outside financing to help with reorganization of the club.
They may not be going anywhere, and Elliott Management, a U.S. based hedge fund is seeking just that.
So if you hate the Glazers, prepare to hate Elliott just as much, if not more. According to an ESPN report, the Elliott proposal centers around “possible financing, not a bid for the club.”
So that is one way this story could go, but we do have two outside bidders who seek control of the club: British business magnate, and devoted United supporter Sir Jim Ratcliffe, who founded chemical corporation INEOS.
Right now he seems to be the most popular and least controversial choice. Hard to say that he’s a “front-runner” though, as there might not actually be a front-runner in this situation.
You also have Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani, Chairman of the Qatar Islamic Bank. His potential takeover has a lot of fans buzzing, as we’ve seen what happens when clubs are purchased by holding companies directly controlled by the ruling families or moneyed political elites of oil-rich Middle-Eastern nations.
You can look at Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain and Newcastle United as the three examples of this phenomenon. All three have so-called “bought titles” by having mega-wealthy owners that spend egregious amounts of money on investment in the club.
The Sheikh Jassim bid is polarizing of course however, given all we know about the nation of Qatar.
What do I mean by that? Well, just consume every story about Qatar and their human rights abuses that was produced leading into the last World Cup.
Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Sports Bank. He’s also the author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” and “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”
He’s written for numerous publications, including the New York Daily News, Sports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune. He regularly appears on NTD News and WGN News Now. Follow the website on Twitter and Instagram.
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