Manchester United takeover: Qatari Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al … – Sky Sports

The deadline to put in a bid for Manchester United passes at 10pm on Friday; Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani wants to restore Manchester United to their former glories with emphasis on youth and infrastructure
Friday 17 February 2023 22:48, UK
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Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s Ineos group and Qatari Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani launched rival bids for Manchester United on Friday. 
Ratcliffe, Britain’s richest man, had indicated his intention to bid for the club last month and confirmation an offer from his company Ineos had been made came through just before the 10pm deadline set by Raine Group, who are organising the potential sale of the club on behalf of the Glazer family.
Earlier Sheikh Jassim, the chairman of one of Qatar banks QIB, made a ‘substantial’ bid, which would carry no debt, insisting all profit under his ownership would be reinvested into the community through the newly-formed Nine Two Foundation.
One insider says “if the Glazers don’t get top, top dollar then they aren’t going anywhere” but Sheikh Jassim is prepared to pay a world-record price for a sports club to buy Manchester United. The current record is the £3.75bn paid for the Denver Broncos NFL team.
The final figure paid by Sheikh Jassim will be determined after he has been given access and taken a detailed look at the company accounts.
Sheikh Jassim became a Manchester United fan in 1992, when he was 10, and says he will invest in the men’s and women’s teams, and the redevelopment of the stadium, the training ground and the area around Old Trafford.
He is the son of the former Prime Minister of Qatar, was educated at Sandhurst in the UK and he is the chairman of Qatar Islamic Bank. He was formerly on the board of Credit Suisse.
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The Raine Group, who are organising the potential sale on behalf of the Glazer family, asked for initial bids to be made by 10pm UK time on Friday.
A statement said: “Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani today [Friday February 17] confirmed his submission of a bid for 100 per cent of Manchester United Football Club.
“The bid plans to return the club to its former glories both on and off the pitch, and – above all – will seek to place the fans at the heart of Manchester United Football Club once more.
“The bid will be completely debt free via Sheikh Jassim’s Nine Two Foundation, which will look to invest in the football teams, the training centre, the stadium and wider infrastructure, the fan experience and the communities the club supports.
“The vision of the bid is for Manchester United Football Club to be renowned for footballing excellence, and regarded as the greatest football club in the world.
“More details of the bid will be released, when appropriate, if and when the bid process develops.”
Sky Sports News’ Kaveh Solhekol:
“He is the chairman of one of the biggest banks in Qatar. QIB bank. He was also on the board of Credit Suisse, a big Swiss bank. I’m being told he’s a lifelong Manchester United supporter and that the club will be owned – if he wins the right to buy Man Utd – through a foundation called the Nine Two Foundation, named after the Class of 92.
“His vision for the club, I’m being told, is an emphasis on youth and also on putting money and investment into both the men’s team and women’s team. He wants to redevelop Old Trafford. There will be a new stadium, a redevelopment of the whole area around Old Trafford, and crucially – and this is very important for Manchester United fans – this deal, if he buys the club, will be totally debt free.
“You have to ask a lot of questions. Why does somebody want to buy Manchester United? What’s in it for them? Are they really a Manchester United supporter? Do they want to make money out of it? Do they want to boost their profile? Do they want to boost the profile of Qatar?
“This evening, everything I’m being told is positive news for Manchester United supporters. I’m not saying you should go out and dance on the streets and celebrate because the Qataris are coming. You have to ask more questions.
“I’m also being told any profits that are made from him owning Manchester United he will put back into the club and the Nine Two Foundation. He doesn’t want to make any money out of this at all. He’s not doing it to make money, he’s doing it because he’s a Manchester United supporter.”
Sky Sports News’ Kaveh Solhekol:
“Since the Glazers said in November they were effectively putting the club up for sale, the Manchester United share price has doubled. It’s now around $26 today, which means, according to the New York Stock Exchange, Manchester United is worth £3.6bn. The value of the club has effectively doubled. Manchester United is worth more than it has ever been worth before.
“How much is this bid from Qatar? I’m being told that is confidential information. But we should be looking at a figure of what Manchester United is worth according to the New York Stock Exchange. I was told the Qataris wouldn’t overpay for United. My best estimate would be somewhere between £3.5bn and £4.5bn.”
Sky Sports News’ Kaveh Solhekol:
“This is not Qatar buying Manchester United. Qatar Sports Investments own PSG. Will they be allowed to own another football club? I’m being told this has got nothing to do with QSI. This is a private deal. This is somebody who has a lot of money and wants to buy Manchester United.”
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Sky Sports News’ Kaveh Solhekol:
“Whatever you think about the Glazers, if they manage to sell Manchester United for anything like £4bn or £5bn they will have pulled off an incredible investment. They bought Manchester United 17 years ago in a £790m deal. But they only put up around £150m of the money. The rest of it they borrowed. As soon as they got their hands on Manchester United, which was a debt-free club, they loaded that debt onto Manchester United.
“Ever since then United have been paying back the interest payments on that debt, it’s been around £1.5bn when you factor in the dividends they paid out as well – and the debt is still £500m.
“That investment, they could potentially turn into £4bn, £5bn. A lot of that will be tax-free because they moved Manchester United’s registered office from Old Trafford to the Cayman Islands.”
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Andy Mitten – United We Stand editor:
“This will be an issue which divides Manchester United’s fanbase, which is huge. It’s a broad church, vastly different demographics. There was a survey published on The Athletic which put the bid from Sir Jim Ratcliffe and the INEOS group as the preferred bid but if you look online and Twitter you’ll see this Qatari-led bid is far more popular.
“Because the Glazers are going, the fans will be happy. The bar has been set low there. But you have issues like the human rights in Qatar. Is there a perfect bid? I’m not sure there is. Fans have always had an issue with the owners at Manchester United.
“I’m sad that it’s come to this, I think Manchester United is strong enough to stand on its own two feet, but I also appreciate that when the club went public in 1991 it could be bought by anybody. It’s become global and you can see why it’s attractive to a potential bidder.
“I’m concerned about the match-going community and issues like ticket prices, the atmosphere at Old Trafford.”
Eric Najib – Rainbow Devils Founder:
“Any new bidder needs to be fully supportive of inclusivity in football. That’s not just in Manchester or the United Kingdom, that’s around the world.”
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