Ben Jacobs: Glazers assessing Manchester United offers

Manchester United fans are awaiting news on the takeover.

The final round of bidding took place on Friday and it is understood that Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s offer is the highest.

Writing his column for CaughtOffside, Ben Jacobs provided the latest update as the Glazers assess all of the bids.

It includes stuff on Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani, and his Nine Two Foundation.

“It’s a key week in the Manchester United sale process. The Glazers are assessing final offers. Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s bid was the highest and is believed to be close to £5.2bn ($6.5bn). That number is the 100% club valuation, from which Ratcliffe would pay whatever percentage he takes if successful. 

“Ratcliffe is flexible. He is prepared to agree to various structures, providing he has control of the club. One option is Joel and Avram Glazer remain with a minority stake, but they would lose their Class B voting power. Ratcliffe will only proceed if he has control.

“INEOS has been built on acquiring companies and see their experience in mergers and acquisitions as helpful in this process. Ratcliffe has also earmarked Paul Mitchell as part of the Manchester United project if successful. Mitchell was considered previously for Nice, which is also part of the INEOS group.

“Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani, and his Nine Two Foundation, haven’t given up. There was huge confusion over the weekend as to the nature of their offer. Well-placed sources indicated a bid of around £5bn was inclusive of £0.8bn in pledged investment. The latter is not relevant to the process (it’s obviously so important to Manchester United going forward but won’t be considered in the decision making) and would put the club valuation number far lower than Ratcliffe’s. However, those close to the Nine Two Foundation dispute this and state the pledged investment is in addition to a “competitive” offer.

“Nine Two Foundation will now await feedback, but sources indicate they haven’t ruled out going directly to the Glazers to try and strike a deal. This would entail removing all intermediaries and potentially even bypassing Raine Group. Whether or not the Glazers would entertain this remains to be seen. Raine are trusted, as is their process. Either way, it is thought the Qatar bid must go up in value via whatever means or route to stand a realistic chance.

“A final key point is this shouldn’t be billed as only a straight race between Ratcliffe and Sheikh Jassim. The April 28 deadline was (and still is) to establish whether a new full or controlling owner is likely, and if so one group will be put forward as the preferred bidder.

“But there are also strategic investors still in the process, including Carlyle, Ares, Sixth Street and Elliott. All these options help drive competitive tension, too. So after months of games, and poker faces, early May will be important to understanding the next step as the Glazers must finally show their hand.”

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