June 17, 2024
Manchester United: Sheikh Jassim, Thomas Zilliacus, submit improved takeover bids

Manchester United: Sheikh Jassim, Thomas Zilliacus, submit improved takeover bids

As the Manchester United takeover race intensifies, Qatar’s Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani and Finnish entrepreneur Thomas Zilliacus have submitted improved bids for the historic club.

Sheikh Jassim has made an improved offer on his first bid, MarketWatch understands. Specific financial details have not been revealed, although the bid includes the removal of all debt from the club.

The improved bid is said to be “highly competitive,” while considered and rational, Sky Sports reports.

The last few days have seen a frenzy of activity in the Manchester United takeover saga, which could increase the pressure on the American Glazer family, which owns Manchester United, to sell the club.

Related: Manchester United takeover drama continues as billionaire Jim Ratcliffe submits revised bid

Sheikh Jassim’s rival, the British Billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe, has also submitted a revised bid for Manchester United, his representatives confirmed to MarketWatch Friday.

Interested parties were set a Wednesday deadline to submit bids for the club, although The Guardian reports that this was “dramatically extended” at the last minute.

Shares of operator Manchester United Ltd. MANU, +0.67% ended Friday’s session up 0.7%, compared with the S&P 500 Index’s SPX, +0.56% gain of 0.6%.

Finnish entrepreneur Thomas Zilliacus also joined the takeover race when he made his own surprise bid to purchase the club earlier this week. Zilliacus subsequently urged Ratcliffe and Sheikh Jassim to join forces with him in a joint bid for Manchester United, which has been owned by the American Glazer family since 2005.

Manchester United: Finnish entrepreneur joins takeover race, wants rivals to team up in joint bid

Zilliacus is the founder of social media organization novaM Group. He is also the former chairman of Finnish soccer club HJK and former co-owner of hockey team Jockerit.

In a statement released Saturday, Zilliacus said that XXI Century Capital, an investment firm owned by his holding company, submitted a new increased bid for the club late Friday. Financial details of the bid have not been revealed.

”I have appealed to my two main rivals, Jim Ratcliffe and Sheik [sic] Jassim, to join forces with me so that we buy the club together and that way channel more money to the club for everything from player aqcuisition [sic] to stadium upgrades,” he said, in a statement. “I however have not received any reply, so XXI Century Capital has increased its bid.”

Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Sheikh Jassim’s high-profile bids to wrest control of Manchester United from the Glazers have garnered plenty of attention in recent months. Ratcliffe is the chief executive of the chemical giant Ineos and the billionaire’s sporting links are strong: Ratcliffe, who ranks 27th on the Sunday Times Rich List, already owns the French Ligue 1 soccer club OGC Nice and the Ineos Grenadiers professional cycling team. 

Related: Manchester United stock tumbles as takeover drama continues

Sheikh Jassim is the chair of Qatar Islamic Bank and the son of a past prime minister of Qatar. The Sheikh is bidding for the club through his Nine Two Foundation, which was named in an apparent nod to Manchester United’s “class of ’92” FA Youth Cup-winning team, which included future stars David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Gary Neville, Phil Neville and Nicky Butt.

The Glazers have come under intense pressure to sell the iconic English football club amid ongoing fan frustration over what is seen as underperformance. The club, one of the biggest names in world soccer, last won the Premier League in 2013. In 2021, the Glazers faced major backlash from fans over planned involvement in the controversial European Super League.

In November, they confirmed they were exploring potential financial investment or an outright sale of the storied Premier League club.

Sky Sports has reported that the Glazers are looking for $7.4 billion for the famous club, which had a calculated value of $4.6 billion in 2022, according to Forbes.

The club did clinch its first silverware in six years last month, with a 2-0 defeat of Newcastle United in the League Cup final.

Related: Manchester United stock jumps after report of ‘world record bid’ for the club

Manchester United is the most successful team in the English top division, which it has won 20 times. A record 13 of those titles have come in the Premier League era, which began in 1992. Founded as Newton Heath in 1878, the club became Manchester United in 1902 and won the first of its 20 league titles six years later.

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