Sir Jim Ratcliffe could potentially walk away from a £1.4 billion deal for a 25% stake in Manchester United if his specific requirements are not met by the Glazer family, according to Independent.
The chief of INEOS has outpaced Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani in the contest for a share in the club, though approval for his initial minority investment is still pending.
Ratcliffe succeeded in navigating past Sheikh Jassim in the negotiations for a portion of United when it was apparent that Joel and Avram Glazer were not prepared to fully relinquish their hold on Old Trafford. The 71-year-old tycoon modified his proposal from a share of the Glazers’ 69% stake to 51%, and then finally to a 25% variation of A and B shares.
This strategic move seems to have paid off, with expectations that INEOS will gain complete control over the sports aspect and instigate major changes in the football department of the club. However, some concerns are arising from those who were in favor of a complete takeover by the Qataris. They are questioning whether Sir Jim will either prolong the Glazers’ 18-year tenure or eventually initiate a buyout.
As per Independent, Sir Jim is standing firm on establishing a clear pathway to eventually acquiring majority ownership at Old Trafford, a topic that is currently at the center of ongoing discussions with the Glazers.
So far, the board of United, consisting of 12 members, hasn’t convened to approve Sir Jim’s proposal, mainly due to his insistence on securing a guaranteed path to eventually owning the club entirely. This particular demand is speculated to potentially prolong the current discussions for several more weeks, given the Glazers’ hesitancy.
Obtaining assurances regarding his future buyout intentions is considered crucial and potentially a deal breaker for Sir Jim, as per the report.
However, the ongoing dialogues with the Glazer family do not seem to be jeopardising the deal at this point, as the American owners are in need of the investment, a fact that led them to initiate a strategic review last November.
The talks between the two parties are said to be progressing as anticipated, and the 25% acquisition by Sir Jim is largely seen as a matter of course from this point onwards.
Assuming the deal goes through, Sir Jim could finalise his review of United’s current sporting structure and bring in his preferred personnel in preparation for the summer transfer window of 2024. While INEOS might officially become shareholders in United by January, the club is not anticipated to be very active in the winter transfer market, unless player departures necessitate changes.