With the “soft” deadline for submitting proposals looming on Friday, United fans and the rest of football are waiting to see who will buy the club.
Only one public statement has been made so far, From businessman Sir Jim Ratcliffe, One of the richest men in Britain.
Qatar is expected to make a bid after days of rumors. The U.S. is expected to make at least two proposals, and Saudi Arabia has also expressed interest.
That means up to five parties could try to negotiate a full sale, while others want smaller investments in exchange for a partial takeover of the Old Trafford team.
Who has bid so far?
Despite signs that United have not attracted the interest their bosses had hoped for, insiders have told BBC Sport that the process is going well.
as they do in their Potential Sale Announcement In November, the Glazers were still considering “all strategic options” for the club, which could include new investments or other deals involving companies.
Lifelong Manchester United fan Ratcliffe, one of the richest men in Britain, His interest is said to be firm and the services of banking giants JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs are understood to have been hired to help him.
As with Chelsea, American interest will be backed by private equity. Bids from Qatar and Saudi Arabia are complicated by owning Paris Saint-Germain and Newcastle respectively.
What would Qatar’s bid look like?
US-based Raine Group, which is tasked with finding a new owner or investor, initially planned to make a final round of bidding in March.
Paris Saint-Germain chairman Nasser Khelaifi will be a key figure in any Qatar ownership bid, even though he may not be directly involved with the club.
Qatar Sports Investments (QSI), led by Al-Khelaifi considering the potential for a smaller stake in a Premier League club, This is allowed under UEFA rules preventing multi-club ownership. QSI already owns a minority stake in Portuguese side Braga.
However, given QSI’s ownership of PSG, it has no interest in selling and any full Qatar takeover of Manchester United would have to be done either privately or through a different organisation.
This could be the Qatar Investment Authority – a global investment platform whose portfolio includes London department store Harrods and the UK’s largest architectural Shard.
Even so, European governing body UEFA may need to change its dual-ownership rules, as many believe all of Qatar’s money is allocated from one central source.
As such, Al-Khelaifi could be the key to helping any bid go through.
Why is Al-Khelaifi the key?
Al-Khelafi, 49, took a more prominent place in football politics when he took office Refuse to free ride Paris Saint-Germain To the tide of the European Super League.
This decision is seen as one of the main reasons why UEFA was able to resist the plan.
Khelaifi has since taken over as president of the European Club Association and has developed a close relationship with UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin.
Without his knowledge, any offer from Qatar for United was deemed impossible.
United and Paris Saint-Germain are not playing in the same game this season, so any amendments to UEFA regulations that would allow Qatari ownership of Old Trafford would need to be activated by the end of July. It must then be approved by UEFA’s executive committee.
Concerns about Qatar’s involvement
The prospect of Qatar investing in a Premier League club – and the Gulf state owning two of Europe’s major teams – has raised concerns among some.
Human rights group Fair Square has written to Ceferin, copying Premier League chairman Richard Masters, “to highlight several serious concerns” following reports that “entities linked to the Qatari government are proposing bids that would see them To be able to get a controlling stake in Manchester United”.
The letter continued: “Under UEFA’s rules designed to protect the integrity of its competitions, we will urge UEFA to present a clear public position prohibiting any takeover of this nature.
“Any consortium of Qatari investors capable of making such an acquisition cannot convincingly demonstrate their independence from the Qatari government.”
A precedent for the Premier League is the Saudi Arabia-backed £305m takeover of Newcastle United in 2021, which was completed only after the league received “legally binding assurances” that the Saudi government would not take control of the club.
UEFA declined to comment, but recently expressed concern about the potential “significant threat” to the integrity of club competition from multi-club ownership.
In 2017, however, UEFA allowed RB Salzburg and RB Leipzig to play in the Champions League despite both clubs being closely linked with drinks giant Red Bull.
What’s happening now?
Neither Raine Group nor United are likely to make an official statement once the deadline has passed.
A full sale will be decided by the Glazer family. Co-chairs Joel and Avi Glazer have been seen as the family members most interested in retaining some interest.
The initial aim was to reach a deal by the end of March, but there was confidence from the start that it would be done by the end of the season.
None of the United officials have spoken publicly about the process, but in order of priority, chief executive Richard Arnold will answer investors’ questions when the club reports its second-quarter results sometime next month.