Manchester United has officially confirmed the sale of a 25% stake to British petrochemical billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe. The deal, facilitated by Ratcliffe-controlled INEOS, includes the acquisition of 25% of the club’s Class B shares and up to 25% of publicly available Class A shares. Additionally, Ratcliffe will inject $300 million to support future investments in the club’s historic stadium, Old Trafford.
The Glazer family, holding the majority ownership, and Class A shareholders are set to receive $33.00 per share, with shares of Manchester United (MANU) closing at $19.81 on Friday. The move comes as Manchester United seeks to enhance its financial standing and propel the club forward. The deal aligns with the club’s valuation of $6 billion by Forbes in May, positioning Manchester United as one of the world’s most valuable soccer clubs.
The deal still requires approval from the English Premier League.
“We are delighted to have agreed (to) this deal with Sir Jim Ratcliffe and INEOS,” said Avram Glazer and Joel Glazer, Manchester United’s executive co-chairmen and directors, in a statement. “As part of the strategic review we announced in November 2022, we committed to look at a variety of alternatives to help enhance Manchester United, with a focus on delivering success for our men’s, women’s and Academy teams.”
That statement added that “the joint ambition is to create a world-class football operation building on the Club’s many existing strengths, including the successful off-pitch performance that it continues to enjoy.”
The sale comes after over a year of rumors that the Florida-based Glazer family, which has owned the club since 2005 and also owns the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, was interested in accepting offers. There have been multiple rounds of bids, which had included Qatari investor Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani, who withdrew his bid in October, according to multiple reports.
Manchester United has struggled in recent years under the Glazer family’s ownership. The club, which have had four full-time managers since long-time boss Sir Alex Ferguson stepped down in 2013, have not won a UEFA Champions League title since 2008, and have not captured a Premier League title since 2013.
Manchester United are currently eighth in the Premier League table.
Ratcliffe, 71, was born in Failsworth, Lancashire, which is part of Greater Manchester. He has described himself as “a local boy and a lifelong supporter” of Manchester United. Ratcliffe, one of Britain’s richest men with a net worth of $19.1 billion, according to Bloomberg’s billionaire index, previously launched a failed bid for London club Chelsea, which fetched $5.3 billion in May 2022.
Ratcliffe also owns soccer clubs OGC Nice in France and FC Lausanne-Sport in Switzerland.