The potential sale of Manchester United has taken yet another turn this Wednesday as a second round of bidding for the club has been completed after exploratory offers were made earlier this year.
It follows a protracted saga after the Glazer family, owners of the club since 2005, announced last year that they were open to outside investments.
Earlier on Wednesday, it was revealed that Sheikh Jassim and his Qatari consortium would be making a world-record bid for the club ahead of tonight’s 9 pm deadline.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s INEOS firm, the other party who have made their interest in full takeover public, were also expected to table an informed bid after talks at Old Trafford and Carrington last week.
Now, with the deadline passed, it has been revealed that both bids have been submitted in time but there is no confirmation that either proposal will be enough to convince the Glazer family.
That’s according to the Daily Mail, who say that bids from both INEOS and Sheikh Jassim are valued at around £5bn – which falls short of the Glazer family’s £6bn valuation.
As per the report, despite the two interested parties improving their first offers, there are concerns that the Glazer family will end up keeping the club if their valuation is not met. Furthermore, it’s claimed that both Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Sheikh Jassim will not overpay for the club.
The Raine Group, who have been heavily involved in the process and are overseeing proceedings, will respond to all bids submitted in the next seven days.
A possible outcome is that a third round of bidding is initiated ahead of what would be the final stretch of the entire process. In that case, prospective buyers would be granted full access to the club’s record in a final set of negotiations.
A full sale of Manchester United is not a small matter – it was always bound to take quite a while and there is very little to suggest that the improved bids have swayed the process either way.
In truth, the Glazer family are unlikely to receive bids close to their £6bn valuation and the future of the club would then come down to their persistence.
If their demands are as rigid as reported, it’s not implausible to see them sticking around and instead consider minority sales and outside investments as they keep control of the club.