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Ratcliffe Agrees Deal To Buy 25 Percent Of Man Utd

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe has agreed a deal to buy a 25 percent stake in Manchester United for a reported £1.25 billion ($1.6 billion) and will take control of the Premier League club’s football operations.

Ratcliffe, the chairman of petrochemicals giant INEOS, will also provide substantial funds for future investment in the club’s Old Trafford stadium.

A club statement said Ratcliffe “will acquire 25 percent of Manchester United’s Class B shares and up to 25 percent of Manchester United’s Class A shares and provide an additional $300 million intended to enable future investment into Old Trafford”.

“As part of the transaction, INEOS has accepted a request by the board to be delegated responsibility for the management of the club’s football operations,” it added.

Ratcliffe said he wanted to see the struggling 20-time English champions back on top of European football and committed himself for the long term.

“As a local boy and a lifelong supporter of the club, I am very pleased that we have been able to agree a deal with the Manchester United board that delegates us management responsibility of the football operations of the club,” he said.

“Whilst the commercial success of the club has ensured there have always been available funds to win trophies at the highest level, this potential has not been fully unlocked in recent times.

“We will bring the global knowledge, expertise and talent from the wider INEOS Sport group to help drive further improvement at the club.”

The agreement ends more than 12 months of speculation over the ownership situation and heralds a new era at a club that has fallen well behind cross-town rivals Manchester City.

Unpopular owners the Glazers, who bought the club for £790 million in 2005, announced in November 2022 that they were considering “strategic alternatives” to help United grow, sparking a protracted process.

Ratcliffe and Qatari banker Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani made rival offers in the region of £5 billion for a complete takeover, but that fell short of the Glazers’ valuation.

Sheikh Jassim withdrew from the process, while Ratcliffe continued to pursue a minority shareholding.

Executive co-chairmen and directors Avram Glazer and Joel Glazer said Ratcliffe and INEOS “bring a wealth of commercial experience as well as significant financial commitment into the club.

They added: “Through INEOS Sport, Manchester United will have access to seasoned high-performance professionals, experienced in creating and leading elite teams from both inside and outside the game.”

Ratcliffe’s group have extensive involvement in sport, owning French Ligue 1 club Nice and Swiss side Lausanne-Sport, as well as the INEOS Grenadiers cycling team.

United have not been crowned Premier League champions since Alex Ferguson’s final season in charge, in 2013.

They languish eighth in the Premier League, 12 points behind leaders Arsenal, and have been knocked out of the League Cup and the Champions League.

Manager Erik Ten Hag’s position is also likely to come under close scrutiny after the Dutch coach failed to build on ending United’s six-year trophy drought by winning the League Cup last season.

Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST) said fans would be left with “mixed feelings”, with the Glazers still in overall charge at Old Trafford.

“During 18 years of debt, decay and mismanagement, Manchester United fans have loudly and consistently called for change at our club,” MUST said in a statement.

“When the so-called strategic review was announced nearly a year ago, it finally appeared that the sale of the club was on the horizon, potentially bringing the new investment and new direction MUFC so clearly needs.

“Against that backdrop, fans have very mixed feelings today. We welcome the investment from a boyhood red, Sir Jim Ratcliffe and his INEOS company, but many will wish his ownership stake was greater.”



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