Manchester United’s search for investment is likely to result in the full sale of the club, Sportsmail has learned.
Early indications – after the Premier League giants announced they were open to external parties taking a stake or buying outright – are that the latter is more appealing to those who have so-far registered an interest.
United’s American owners, the Glazer family, remain open to all options. With a huge, additional bill to either redevelop Old Trafford or build a brand new stadium, along with the prospect of a significant upgrade to the training ground, the costs involved will be vast.
The Glazer family first announced they were ready to sell Manchester United last November
A full sale is the most likely outcome, and the Glazers want up to £8bn before leaving the club
Indeed, some have wondered if the sums involved may rule out new ownership – but that does not appear to be the case.
After November’s announcement, the situation remains in the early stages. Those who have expressed an interest and signed confidentiality clauses have been provided with access to the club’s financials.
It is understood that the matter, overseen by US merchant bankers Raine Group, will move to a more formal stage in the next three to four weeks.
It can, however, be disclosed that despite an expected price of between £6bn and £8bn, the noises so far point to the likelihood of a full takeover of United, rather than investment in exchange for a stake.
That news will no doubt be greeted by fans of the club, who have long protested against the Glazers’ controversial, debt-burdening 18-year reign. The toxicity that would be likely to remain should the Americans retain a controlling interest is another issue at play.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe announced last week that he has entered the race to buy Manchester United
Last week, lifelong United fan and Britain’s richest man Jim Ratcliffe was the first to publicly declare that they had entered the race.
Ratcliffe’s Ineos company, however, faces substantial competition, with multiple parties already involved from the US and beyond.
It remains to be seen whether a sovereign wealth fund will launch a bid, although such a development would not be unexpected.
While the cost is hefty, United’s global appeal is seen as highly attractive. The view throughout the business world is that the club’s vast fanbase, which they say is in excess of one billion, remains relatively untapped.
Red Devils boss Erik ten Hag has led Manchester United to fourth in the Premier League so far
The opportunity to monetise such support is a key selling point and was emphasised in Davos last week, where the club set up a luxury shop front to coincide with the World Economic Forum, which saw many of the planet’s super rich head to the upmarket Swiss ski resort.
Raine led the sale of Chelsea, which saw the London club go for £2.5bn, with a commitment to £1.75bn in further investment. That sum was deemed higher than anticipated by many and has played a role in United and rivals Liverpool exploring the market.
Manchester United declined to comment.
Published by Associated Newspapers Ltd
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