And then there were two. Finnish Business man Thomas Zilliacus has dropped out of the derby to takeover Manchester United, leaving just two serious, strongly contending bidders. While that in itself is very news worthy, what he’s said about withdrawing, and the information that has come out surrounding that is even more headline generating.
Zilliacus called the derby to take over Manchester United Football Club “a farce,” and he said the Glazer family is divided about actually selling the prized asset.
Manchester United at Nottingham Forest FYIs
Kickoff: Sun April 16, 4:30 pm, City Ground
Transatlantic Passage: How the Premier League Redefined Soccer in America: LINK
United Team News: go here
United Starting XI Prediction: Go here
PL Form: United WWLDW Nottingham Forest LLDLL
PL Standing: United 4th 56 pts Nottingham Forest 18th 27 pts
Google Result Probability: United 59% Draw 23% Nottingham Forest 18%
“I have decided not to participate in a third round,” Zilliacus said in an interview ESPN. “The bidding has turned into a farce in which the Glazers, at the expense of the club, focus purely on driving up the bid to the 6 billion pounds they want for the club.”
“I think some of the [Glazer] siblings don’t want to sell, while others want to sell only if the price is minimum £6bn.”
Ziliacus had put forth a proposal in which he would have put up half the money himself, and the other half would have been generated by donations from supporters all across the world. Obviously, it’s all off the table now. Sheikh Jassim has long been considered the front-runner in the United takeover derby, and that status is likely strengthened, given how Zilliacus has now dropped out.
But even that could just be a moot point, as there seems to growing sentiment that the Glazers won’t actually sell. It appears that the extremely unpopular ownership group won’t sell, unless someone meets their sky high £6 billion valuation. If you recall from their original and only public statement on the matter, they didn’t actually say they were looking to sell.
All they said was a bunch of business buzzword gobbedly-gook, which included the concept of outside investors potentially coming in to help make over the club, not purchase it. The Glazer family is hoping to break the record for sports franchise sale, currently held by the Denver Broncos of the NFL ($4.65 billion, or £3.73bn).
However, another NFL franchise, the Washington Commanders has received takeover bids of more than £5.6bn, or just under $7B!
So it doesn’t seem like the United bidding war will come to a conclusion any time soon. And maybe Zilliacus is right- this has all been a sick joke from the start and the Glazers were never really looking to sell anyway. Just in case you needed more reasons to dislike them!
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.