Manchester United could be set for a major change in their boardroom. Reports suggest that billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe is on the brink of securing a 25% stake in the iconic football club, potentially increasing Old Trafford’s capacity to 90,000. After months of intense negotiations, which saw Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani backing out, Ratcliffe is the front runner.
As per information from The Times, the final decision regarding Ratcliffe’s bid for a portion of United’s A and B shares, in return for a whopping £1.3 billion, might be revealed soon. Although it’s a minority share, the businessman’s INEOS company is poised to assume control over the football-related operations from the current owners, the Glazers.
The takeover by INEOS aims to address the pressing demands of the fanbase, especially those eager to see the Glazers depart. An integral aspect of the discussions has revolved around the immediate necessity to refurbish and potentially enlarge the Old Trafford stadium, currently holding 74,310 fans. Evidently, the entrance of INEOS will expedite these plans, with dedicated funds reserved for this project.
The acquisition by Ratcliffe is speculated to be a precursor to an eventual full takeover. The entrepreneur’s open-minded approach to collaborate with the Glazers and letting them maintain a stake has played a pivotal role.
Following the withdrawal of Sheikh Jassim’s proposal, the Manchester United Supporters’ Trust issued a statement urging the Glazer family to clarify their stance: “We hope this news accelerates that process rather than delays it. Based on the last 11 months, no one can be quite sure.”