Sheikh Jassim’s Manchester United bid: why did it fail?

The long and complicated history of the Manchester United sale was laid bare in the filings. After nearly decades of ownership since 2005, the Glazers launched their first search for strategic alternatives for the Red Devils in November 2022, in other words, putting the club up for sale.

After numerous attempts to fail in securing shares in the club, Sir Jim Ratcliffe was finally confirmed as a stakeholder in the Premier League club on Christmas Eve, which marked a breakthrough for the Glazer family and him. Ultimately, the Qatari bidder for Manchester United, Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani was left disappointed and dropped out of the race to buy the club.

Why did Sheikh Jassim’s bid to buy Manchester United fail?

According to a document submitted to American authorities, Jassim is described as having failed to respond to requests to show where his money was coming from. As part of the Schedule 14D-9 filing, which articulates a business’s response to a takeover offer, United said that Jassim failed repeatedly to submit the customary financing commitment letters.

After a series of revised and improved bids over the spring of 2023 came without the letters attached, the board of directors at United eventually told Jassim that they would require sufficient evidence of the financing and primary financing commitment papers before continuing with negotiations. But those papers never arrived and on October 15, Jassim withdrew from the process.

Sheikh Jassim and his Qatari association proposed £5 billion in exchange for a 100% share of the club and a commitment to clear all outstanding debts while also improving the squad. Additionally, they offered to support the Old Trafford renovation project as well.

The Qatari consortium had been leading the race for the past year to purchase the club, but the Glazers rejection of the bid, valuing the club higher than the proposed offer and Jassim’s massive £5 billion ownership prospect never being close to reality meant that the Red Devils were not going to be moving towards a massive Qatari investment. In addition to that, Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s pressure was giving the club management a race against time to come to a decision.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe saw four bids turned down before his ultimate success

Manchester United’s new minority owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe had four offers turned down in 2023 before the billionaire’s bid in October was finally deemed acceptable by the Glazer family that too in the month of december, 2 months after the official offer.

According to the BBC, Ratcliffe first made contact with the Raine Group, who were in charge of handling the sale process, on January 15, 2023. The first rejected offer was only for class B shares, which would have allowed him to take a controlling interest in the club. He was told the offer did not match the desire for a full sale or minority primary investment by the Glazers family.

According to the documents mentioned earlier, it was also revealed that Ratcliffe also issued a Christmas Day deadline for acceptance of his final offer, threatening to walk away if there was no progress. This came after pushback from directors outside the Glazer family to the October proposal from Ratcliffe of $33 (£26) for 25% of Class A and B shares plus $300 million in capital.

Eventually, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, the founder of the Ineos Petrochemicals Empire, got an agreement to purchase a 25% stake in the club for £1.3 billion, with Sir Jim investing a total of $300,000,000 for the improvement of Old Trafford to decrease the gap in infrastructure when compared to Manchester City’s Etihad or Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium. Ratcliffe will take charge of football operations at Old Trafford in March once the takeover is completed in full, which means that he has been put in charge of the sports side of the club while the infamous Glazers continued to oversee the commercial business.

Manchester United fan’s prayers might have been finally heard, as the Glazers are set to give Sir Jim the front seat in terms of football decisions, which can be a crucial factor in the development of the team. But it seems that it is not going to be a piece of cake, as the results of the Manchester United team have been far from decent since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson and it is no different in the current season as well, even under the management of Erik ten Hag.

Can the appointment of Sir Jim as the decision-maker in football matters for the club be a spark and turning point for the Red Devils or is it just another nightmare knocking on the door for the fans? Let us know your comments down below.


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