British billionaire enters race to buy Manchester United

British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s firm Ineos has officially entered the race to buy Manchester United.

United’s owners the Glazer family said in November that they were considering selling the club as they “explore strategic alternatives”.

Ineos said the company had “formally put ourselves into the process”.

Ratcliffe made an unsuccessful late £4.25bn offer to buy Chelsea last year after owner Roman Abramovich put the London club up for sale.

Born the son of a joiner in Failsworth, in Greater Manchester, Ratcliffe is a boyhood fan of United and one of the UK’s richest men.

He said he would have tried to buy the Old Trafford side following the failure to acquire Chelsea but, after meeting with brothers Joel and Avram Glazer, stated that they did not want to sell.

However, since then the Glazers have changed their stance and he has now joined the bidding process.

Ineos group owns Nice in France and Swiss club Lausanne.

United have been owned by the Glazer family since 2005.

They are fourth in the Premier League after an improvement in form under manager Erik ten Hag, who took over in the summer.

They beat local rivals Manchester City 2-1 on Saturday and are nine points off leaders Arsenal.

American investment firm Raine Group, who handled Chelsea’s £4.25bn sale in May, is exclusively advising United. A consortium led by Todd Boehly paid £2.5bn for the Stamford Bridge club’s shares, while saying it would provide £1.75bn to invest in the Premier League club.

There have been multiple protests against the Glazers’ ownership in recent years, including one in May 2021 that caused United’s home league match against Liverpool to be postponed.

Thousands of supporters marched to Old Trafford in protest before the same fixture this season, in August.

United were part of the failed European Super League project that rapidly collapsed in April 2021. Manchester United co-chairman Joel Glazer later apologised for the unrest it caused.

He later attended fans’ forums in the wake of supporter unrest and pledged to make shares available to the club’s followers.

Since then, a statement from United in November said the board will “consider all strategic alternatives, including new investment into the club, a sale, or other transactions involving the company”. (BBC)