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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Dan Kilpatrick

Manchester United takeover: Sir Jim Ratcliffe confident of securing stake after £1.3bn bid

Sir Jim Ratcliffe is confident of securing a 25 percent stake in Manchester United after tabling a bid of around £1.3billion, which would see the British billionaire potentially take control of the club’s football operations from the Glazers.

United’s board is expected to vote on Ratcliffe’s offer on Thursday after his rival bidder, Qatari banker Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani, withdrew from the process to buy the club.

Sheihk Jassim was only pursuing a 100 per cent takeover and, like Ratcliffe, had tabled a bid worth more than £5bn before becoming frustrated with the process and the Glazers’ high valuation.

Ratcliffe, who says he is a lifelong United fan, tried and failed to buy Chelsea last year, but his company Ineos already has French Ligue 1 club Nice and Swiss club Lausanne as part of its sporting portfolio.

Ratcliffe’s team running the football arm of the club would potentially placate supporters following consistent demonstrations against the Glazer family, who bought United for £790m in 2005 and announced 11 months ago they were considering a sale.

But in a lengthy social media post, former United captain Gary Neville said Ratcliffe’s offer raised "more questions than answers".

After laying out six "non-negotiables on a takeover", Neville wrote: "How does a minority stakeholder positively impact the club to achieve the above?

"Can a minority shareholder have any impact on the above.

"It leaves more questions than answers. My preference is and always will be now for a Glazer family full exit. They have overstayed their welcome in Manchester yet seem oblivious to this fact."

In a statement, the Manchester United Supporters’ Trust said: "What supporters should expect at the very least now is some clarity and an end to this process. Furthermore, the outcome must include new investment into the club.

"It cannot be solely about the interests of shareholders, whether existing or new.

"We call upon all parties to put Manchester United interests before their own interests.

"If the reports are true regarding Ineos obtaining a 25% stake in our club, there are a number of questions around the transaction which need clarity before supporters can make any judgement on its merits."

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