Qatari Sheikh Wants To Buy Man U

Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al-Thani

A consortium led by Qatari banker, Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al-Thani, will make an improved bid today to buy Manchester United, sources have told ESPN.

The offer, which follows a 10-hour meeting held with the club last Thursday, will be submitted to Raine Group before the 9 p.m. UK deadline.

British billionaire, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, is also expected to submit a bid on Friday after similar meetings held at Old Trafford and United’s Carrington’s training base.

Sources have told ESPN that Raine Group expect other bids — not yet made public — to be submitted while parties interested in minority investment rather than a full takeover, including US-based hedge fund Elliott Investment Management, will also make offers.

Sources have told ESPN that consortiums bidding for control of the club were given priority during the second round of the process, handled by Raine, but that existing owners the Glazer family are keeping their options open.

They announced in November they would look at “strategic alternatives.”

Sources say that the Glazers value United at around £6 billion, although indicative offers received before Raine’s initial soft deadline on February 17 fell below their asking price.

Second offers submitted by Sheikh Jassim and Ratcliffe, Chairman and CEO of chemical company INEOS, are expected to be closer to the Glazers’ valuation.

Sources close to Sheikh Jassim’s bid believe it is “competitive,” with officials remaining “very confident” it will be successful.

Ratcliffe, meanwhile, has said he will not pay a “stupid price” for the club.

“How do you decide the price of a painting? How do you decide the price of a house? It’s not related to how much it cost to build or how much it cost to paint,” Ratcliffe told The Wall Street Journal.

“What you don’t want to do is pay stupid prices for things because then you regret it subsequently.”

Sources have told ESPN that United staff have been told to expect “clarity” on the club’s ownership situation by the end of the season.