Multiple potential buyers have surfaced to acquire the English football club Manchester United, vowing to pay a substantial amount to possess a significant share of the globe’s most beloved sport. The prospect of owning such a valuable asset has enticed numerous parties, leading to a competitive bidding process.
While the valuation of American sports teams has soared, exemplified by the recent sale of the NFL’s Denver Broncos for a staggering $4.65 billion, the world’s premier soccer clubs are surpassing them by a considerable margin.
Manchester United, the iconic English team owned by the Glazer family, has already received at least two bids. It is anticipated that the purchase price and the magnitude of the bidding war for one of the most renowned sports clubs globally will shatter existing records.
Furthermore, several other soccer clubs have reportedly been approached with billion-dollar offers, though the American billionaire who possesses Liverpool F.C. has postponed the sale for now.
The most notable bidder by a considerable margin is Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani, the chairman of Qatar Islamic Bank and son of a former prime minister of the Gulf state. According to reports, his offer is valued at approximately $6 billion (£5 billion). Sheikh Jassim has pledged to make a substantial investment in the club, raising the possibility of a financial arms race with its local rival, Manchester City, owned by the UAE, and Newcastle United, owned by the Saudis.
The other bidder who has made their interest in the club known is Jim Ratcliffe, the industrialist considered Britain’s wealthiest man and has been a devoted supporter of United for a long time. However, in emphasizes what he is not in his proposal: a magnate from the Gulf oil industry.
Big Banks Involved
The significant number of American banks involved in the soccer-bidding mania is worth noting. Raine Group, which managed the £2.5 billion sale of Chelsea F.C. last year, also oversees the sale of United. Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase are also advising Ratcliffe, while Bank of America is collaborating with Sheikh Jassim. Moreover, the colossal US hedge fund, Elliott Management, proposes providing financial assistance to facilitate the transaction.
According to Bloomberg News, this highlights the fact that American financiers are beginning to recognize the enormous profit potential of the world’s most widely followed sport.
No Guarantee Of A Sale
Sheikh Jassim and Ratcliffe face a considerable obstacle in UEFA’s rules, which restrict groups from owning multiple clubs in the same competition, such as the Champions League. Ratcliffe, who already possesses the French club OGC Nice, must confront this challenge, while Sheikh Jassim has to persuade officials that he has no ties to the Qatari interests that own Paris Saint-Germain.
Additionally, they must overcome the challenge of winning over the Glazer family, who acquired the club in 2005. According to reports by the British news media, the American family is seeking a sum of seven billion, which one potential bidder described to The Times as “madness.”
Liverpool Not For Sale
John Henry, the American billionaire who owns Liverpool F.C. through his Fenway Sports Group, confirmed to the Boston Sports Journal that he is no longer actively seeking to sell the club outright. Previous estimations of Liverpool’s worth had speculated that it could be valued as high as £4 billion.
Rather than a full-scale sale, Henry stated that Fenway is discussing the possibility of selling a share in the club to potential investors. However, he also left open the possibility of a full sale in the future, stating, “Will we be permanently based in England? Not necessarily.”