According to reports on Sky News, British Billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe is set to complete the acquisition of a 25% stake in Manchester United(Man United) and begin immediately restructuring the management of Old Trafford.
Ratcliffe, the chairman of petrochemicals firm INEOS, is expected to be confirmed as a minority shareholder of the 20-time Premier League champions before the league resumes. Once that is done, he will take responsibility for football operations, with expected massive shakeups.
Richard Arnold has already left his position as chief executive of Manchester United, with Ratcliffe expected to bring in his replacement. Football director John Murtough is also likely to be moved on amid a dreadful start to the season for Erik ten Hag’s side.
The takeover will see Man United owner, the Glazer family, finalise a $33 per share deal with Ratcliffe that will see the British billionaire acquire a 25% stake at Old Trafford.
The Glazer family has faced intense criticism from fans over handling this key part of the club’s operations.
The Glazer family announced in November 2022 that they were exploring “strategic alternatives” for the club, including a possible sale and were open to fresh investment.
According to Reuters, Ratcliffe’s offer represents a premium of 79.1% to the stock’s Thursday closing price of $18.43, valuing the Old Trafford club at about $5.4 billion, excluding debt.
United’s U.S.-listed shares rose 9.5% to $20.10 in early trading on Friday.
The deal values United higher than Premier League rivals Chelsea, sold by Russian Businessman Roman Abramovich in May for $5.2 billion to an investment group led by U.S. billionaire Todd Boehly and private equity firm Clearlake Capital.
United also generate more revenue and has a larger fan base than its London rival.
A 71-year-old Ratcliffe will also control the club’s player recruitment if the deal is finalised.
The deal structure that Ratcliffe has proposed would allow members of the Glazer family, as well as other shareholders, to cash out partially, one source told Reuters.
It is unclear if Ratcliffe is planning a full takeover or if the Glazers would be open to an outright sale.
Ratcliffe founded INEOS in 1998 and is the chemical group’s chairman and chief executive, with a two-thirds stake. Forbes pegs Ratcliffe’s net worth at $18.7 billion.
The British billionaire is no stranger to the business of sports. INEOS owns French Ligue 1 club Nice, Swiss Super League side FC Lausanne-Sport.