Sir Jim Ratcliffe officially enters bidding process

Sir Jim Ratcliffe has ‘formally’ entered the bidding process to buy Manchester United from the Glazer family, a spokesperson for the billionaire has confirmed.

Ratcliffe is commonly referred to as Britain’s richest man, heading up petrochemicals firm INEOS. He was born and raised in Manchester and has been a lifelong United fan.

Despite his longstanding affinity with the Red Devils, Ratcliffe had tried to buy Chelsea last year but missed the bidding deadline with his £4.25bn offer.

“We have formally put ourselves into the process,” read a short statement from Ratcliffe’s camp on Tuesday, reported by The Times.

At this stage, no other interested parties have publicly confirmed their position.

The Times report adds that potential bidders must register interest with the merchant bank appointed by the Glazer family to oversee the takeover process, allowing them access to confidential financial documents to assist with due diligence. Formal bids are expected in February and it remains a possibility that a sale could be completed by the end of the 2022/23 season.

Ratcliffe, whose firm also owns OGC Nice in France, confirmed via a spokesperson his interest in buying United in August. The club wasn’t for sale at that time, but things changed in November when the Glazer family released a statement declaring their intention to welcome offers for a full or partial takeovers. It has since been the belief that a full takeover is the preference.

After being linked with a Liverpool takeover, Ratcliffe appeared to rule himself out of buying another football, with INEOS suggesting the company’s priority was to develop Nice into a powerhouse of French football. But it was reported that United were the only club that would change his mind.

Since the sale announcement that followed, that has indeed been the case.

United have been owned by the Glazer family since 2005 when late patriarch Malcolm Glazer completed a highly controversial leveraged buyout that plunged the club into debt for the first time in more than 70 years. The parasitic ownership model also saw significant funds taken out of the club in the form of dividends, although under huge pressure no dividends were paid in December 2022 for the first time in six years.

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