Unless you’re in the upper upper class, or a total fan boy of said elitist of the elites, then you’ll probably agree with the following sentence. The Manchester United ownership race has gone going from bad to worse, to now somehow even worse yet! According to ESPN, the Glazer family is in now in talks with the Carlyle Group, an investment firm that is among the world’s most notorious war profiteers (more detail on this coming).
The ESPN article states that the Carlyle Group are looking to potentially purchase a minority stake investment share in the club while “U.S.-based hedge fund Elliott Management, American investment group Ares Management Corporation and U.S. global investment firm Sixth Street are also interested.”
This latest news only seems to verify what Finnish business man Thomas Zilliacus had to say when he pulled out of the MUFC bidding war (Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Sheikh Jassim remain in the running). Ziliacus called the process “a farce,” as he maintains that some of the Glazers aren’t actually interested in selling the club, a process that is being overseen and managed by New York-based investment bank Raine Group.
The Glazer family, reported to have a net worth of well over $4 billion, making them one of America’s 100 richest families, never actually said they were fully going to sell.
You’ll recall that their one public statement about this process, written almost entirely in PRspeak and corporate propaganda word salad, said they were going to explore a variety of options here.
Those options included outside investors obtaining a share of the club while the Glazers remain fully in control. They could be leaning that way, given how they’re now having more talks with hedge funds and other assorted organizations that exist solely to help 1%ers, oh, whom are we kidding 0.01%ers become even more obscenely wealthy.
Which brings us to Carlyle Group, and elitist of the elite wealth management firm with reported assets of close to £300 billion. You may remember hearing a fair amount about Carlyle back in the early to mid 2000s, but they have since truly flown during the radar.
Carlyle is highly connected, with ex-U.S. Presidents among their inner most circle. Back during the U.S. invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, they became amongst the world’s worst war profiteers…joining the likes of corporations like Halliburton and Blackwater.
One of the main reasons you haven’t heard much about Carlyle is that they have truly succeeded in re-branding/brand management.
While Carlyle was the focus of numerous exposés around the time of the U.S. invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, major media has provided limited follow-up coverage, and the company has been allowed to “rebrand” itself as an “investment group.”
But they really are the in-crowd so to speak.
According to The Guardian:
Sometimes called the Ex-Presidents Club, Carlyle has a glittering array of ex-politicians and big league bankers on its board. Former secretary of state James Baker is managing director while ex-secretary of defence Frank Carlucci is chairman. George Bush senior is an adviser. John Major heads up its European operations. To give the conspiracy theorists plenty of ammunition, US newspapers have also highlighted the fact that current Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was a wrestling partner of Carlucci’s at Princeton and the two have remained close friends ever since.
The Center for Public Integrity sums it up best:
“Carlyle would never have gotten to the level that it is at today had it not been for this premeditated commingling of business and politics,” said Dan Briody, author of The Iron Triangle: Inside the Secret World of the Carlyle Group, a book that takes a critical look at the rise of the firm.
One of Carlyle’s most controversial hirings was of former president Bush to serve as a senior adviser for its “Asia advisory board.”
“The fact that George H.W. Bush was working for them while his son was president, while his son, in fact, was dramatically increasing defense spending—that seems to me one of the most blatant conflicts of interests in history,” Briody said.
See this is why it is so easy to get lots of people, even intelligent people, to buy into conspiracy theories. Because many, if not most conspiracy theories start with the idea that a very small group of super-wealthy people, accountable to no one and operating mostly in secrecy, control much of the world.
That one part, is already true, so you don’t need to work hard to convince anybody of that.
The Glazers are already extremely reviled enough by much of the fan base, so their getting involved with The Carlyle Group, potentially, just seems par for the course. Public opinion of the Florida based family, who built their fortune in commercial real estate, can’t get any lower right now.
Also, this isn’t the first time a Premier League big six club was owned by a billionaire with connections to political power players with notorious personal histories. After Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich was forced to sell Chelsea FC last year, it ended his two decades in charge of the southwest London club.
Abramovich is strongly connected to both Vladimir Putin and Jared and Ivanka Trump.
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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