Manchester United Confirm Sale Of 25% Club Stake To Billionaire Jim Ratcliffe

Adoga Stephen By Adoga Stephen - Editor-In-Chief
5 Min Read

Jim Ratcliffe, a British businessman, has agreed to purchase a 25% share in Manchester United for a reported £1.25 billion ($1.6 billion) and will take over the Premier League club’s football operations.

Ratcliffe, the chairman of the petrochemical conglomerate INEOS, will also contribute significantly to future expansion at the club’s Old Trafford stadium.

A club statement said Ratcliffe “will acquire 25 percent of Manchester United’s Class B shares and up to 25 percent of Manchester United’s Class A shares and provide an additional $300 million intended to enable future investment into Old Trafford”.

“As part of the transaction, INEOS has accepted a request by the board to be delegated responsibility for the management of the club’s football operations,” it added.

Ratcliffe stated his desire to see the ailing 20-time English champions return to the pinnacle of European football and stated his commitment to the long term.

“As a local boy and a lifelong supporter of the club, I am very pleased that we have been able to agree a deal with the Manchester United board that delegates us management responsibility of the football operations of the club,” he said.

“Whilst the commercial success of the club has ensured there have always been available funds to win trophies at the highest level, this potential has not been fully unlocked in recent times.

“We will bring the global knowledge, expertise and talent from the wider INEOS Sport group to help drive further improvement at the club.”

The arrangement puts an end to more than a year of uncertainty about the club’s ownership position and ushers in a new era for a team that has fallen well behind cross-town rivals Manchester City.

The Glazers, who acquired United for £790 million in 2005, said in November 2022 that they were examining “strategic alternatives” to help the club expand, kicking off a lengthy process.

Ratcliffe and Qatari financier Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani made competing proposals for a full acquisition in the range of £5 billion, but they fell short of the Glazers’ value.

Sheikh Jassim withdrew from the process, while Ratcliffe pursued a minority stake.

Ratcliffe and INEOS, according to executive co-chairmen and directors Avram Glazer and Joel Glazer, “bring a wealth of commercial experience as well as significant financial commitment to the club.”

They added: “Through INEOS Sport, Manchester United will have access to seasoned high-performance professionals, experienced in creating and leading elite teams from both inside and outside the game.”

Ratcliffe’s firm is heavily involved in sports, owning the French Ligue 1 club Nice, the Swiss club Lausanne-Sport, and the INEOS Grenadiers cycling team.

United have not won the Premier League title since Alex Ferguson’s final season as manager in 2013.

They are now seventh in the Premier League, 12 points behind league leaders Arsenal, and have been eliminated from both the League Cup and the Champions League.

Manager Erik Ten Hag’s job is also set to come under pressure after the Dutch coach failed to capitalize on winning the League Cup last season, which ended United’s six-year trophy drought.

Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST) stated fans would have “mixed feelings” if the Glazers remained in power at Old Trafford.

“During 18 years of debt, decay and mismanagement, Manchester United fans have loudly and consistently called for change at our club,” MUST said in a statement.

“When the so-called strategic review was announced nearly a year ago, it finally appeared that the sale of the club was on the horizon, potentially bringing the new investment and new direction MUFC so clearly needs.

“Against that backdrop, fans have very mixed feelings today. We welcome the investment from a boyhood red, Sir Jim Ratcliffe and his INEOS company, but many will wish his ownership stake was greater.”

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By Adoga Stephen Editor-In-Chief
Stephen studied Mass Communication at the Lagos State Polytechnic, Ikorodu (now Lagos State University of Science and Technology), where he acquired requisite training for the practice of journalism. He loves the media, and his interest mostly lies in print medium, where his creative writing skill makes him a perfect fit.