English football club Manchester United (MANU.N) is negotiating granting exclusivity to the consortium led by Qatar’s Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani in the talks to sell itself for more than $6 billion, people familiar with the matter told Reuters Thursday.
Members of the Glazer family, which own minority stakes in Manchester United and control it thanks to a dual-class share structure, would be cashing out as part of the proposed deal, one of the sources said.
The Qatari offer is currently viewed by the Glazers more favorably than a bid from British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe, founder of chemicals producer INEOS, the sources added. Ratcliffe’s offer envisions that the Glazers would keep some interest in Manchester United.
Manchester United is widely seen as one of the most prized assets in all of sport. A $6 billion deal would make the deal one of the biggest sports deals ever, following the similarly-sized sale of the National Football League’s Washington Commanders earlier this year.
Shares of Manchester United jumped nearly 15% on the news, before paring some gains.
Manchester United would not be allowed to negotiate with any bidder other than Sheikh Jassim for the exclusivity period. It could not be learned how long this period may last. The sources cautioned that the situation remained fluid and a new bid from Ratcliffe could prevent Sheikh Jassim from securing exclusivity.
The sources requested anonymity because the matter is confidential. Representatives for Manchester United and Sheikh Jassim did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The club is the fourth-richest soccer club in the world, according to analysis by Deloitte.