Will the Qataris buy Manchester United? The answer was still not known between the night of Wednesday March 22nd and the night of Thursday March 23rd. Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB) president Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani, along with British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe, made a second bid to take over the English club on Wednesday. But according to Sky Sports, the final bid deadline of 9pm local time (10pm in France) has been pushed back by investment bank Raine.
“We can confirm that our offer has been submitted”“, a source close to Sheikh Jassim told Agence France-Presse, without giving details. “Sheikh Jassim remains fully engaged and confident in his offer. We believe this is the best deal for the club, the supporters and the local community.”He only explained.
The English press also reports that the second round of bidding also involved Mr Ratcliffe, owner of the petrochemical group Ineos and several football clubs, including France’s OGC Nice.
The first call for tenders, in mid-February, turned out to be a bit of a disappointment for the owners, the Glazer family, who were hoping for almost 7 billion euros, while the first estimates were closer to 5 billion.
The bids reach around £5bn
Also according to English media, bids this time reached or slightly exceeded £5bn (€5.7bn) after the main suitors visited the club’s facilities and met with its management at the end of the week.
The amount represents a world record for a collective sports club, but remains below what the American owners are hoping for, and so the rest of the process remains uncertain. “Next steps will depend on the seller, we don’t expect an immediate response”A source close to the case told Agence France-Presse.
In addition to the two main candidates identified, other non-public offers were expected, with Sky Sports even mentioning a total of five to eight offers. Some investment funds, such as Elliott Investment Management, the former owner of AC Milan, are positioned to help finance all or part of the sale, which is anything but certain.
The Glazers, at least Joel and Avram, co-presidents of the Red Devils, never ruled out the possibility of staying put, despite their very strong unpopularity.
What about PSG if Manchester is QIBed?
With football clubs Nice and Lausanne in the Swiss Championship and his cycling team Ineos Grenadiers, Mr Ratcliffe has a reputation as a shrewd investor. He wants to take only the share of the Glazer family, i.e. 69%, in the club, while the Qatari rival is aiming for a 100% acquisition.
QIB is one of the largest banks in Qatar. Its majority shareholder is the sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority, owner of Qatar Sports Investments (QSI), which controls Paris Saint-Germain. One challenge for them will be to prove that the two clubs are not controlled by the same entity, which would prevent them from competing in European competitions at the same time under UEFA rules.
Source: Le Monde