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Manchester United owners the Glazer family are ‘leaning towards’ staying with minority investment, insiders close to the situation reportedly believe. The Raine Group are set to invite a third round of bidding for the Premier League club.
British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al-Thani of Qatar will apparently submit fresh proposals. Wide-ranging reports suggest that the Glazers have a base value of £6billion, but infrastructure spending, including upgrades to Old Trafford, will cost a potential new owner at least £1bn.
With no preferred bidder selected after two rounds, there is some concern that the Glazers will not sell at all. Some insiders have supposedly been left ‘baffled’ by the slow nature of the process and the lack of updates.
It has apparently led many within the club to believe that the Glazers do not want to relinquish their overall control of the club. Instead, they believe the family will remain in charge but will welcome minority investment.
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According to the Independent, the idea of the Glazers remaining at Old Trafford is being given ‘more credence’ over the past few weeks. That feeling supposedly became more pressing after the owners opted against selecting a preferred bidder last week and decided they wanted a third round of bids.
It is bad news for those United fans who want the Glazers out of the club. Red Devils icon Gary Neville recently accused them of being ‘classless’ and said the situation could grow ‘toxic’ if they fail to sell.
“They are making it up as they go along! [It’s a] shoddy way to run a sale process. They need to get out by end of May to allow the new owner a fighting chance to impact the next transfer window and get moving!”
He added: “Taking it to a third round is just classless. The market has obviously not given them the answer they want… If they stay in after all this it will be toxic!”
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It comes after speculative Finnish businessman Thomas Zilliacus withdrew his bid, leaving Ratcliffe and Sheikh Jassim as the only known bidders for a full takeover. He slammed the Glazers in a series of tweets, saying: “I have declined participation in a third bidding round for United.
“The bidding is turning into a farce, with Glazers giving no respect to the club. The delays will make it very difficult for any new owner to build a winning team for next season.
“Jim Ratcliffe, Sheikh Jassim and myself all were ready to negotiate a deal to buy United. Instead, Glazers chose to start a new round. I will not participate in a farce set up to maximise the profit for the sellers at the expense of Manchester United.”
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