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Meet Britain’s richest man Sir Jim Ratcliffe, who has invested in Man Utd and already owns Nice

  • Published : 14:46, 24 Dec 2023
  • Updated : 17:05, 24 Dec 2023

BRITAIN'S richest man Sir Jim Ratcliffe - worth a staggering £15billion- has today completed his 25 per cent takeover at Manchester United.

The billionaire businessman ivested after the Glazer family put the club up for sale earlier this year.

 Britain's richest man, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, has invested in Manchester United.

United announced last year that the Glazers were “looking to explore strategic alternatives” for the club.

Ratcliffe , 70, is a lifelong Red Devils fan and it was revealed in the summer he was interested in taking over the club.

He has now finally completed the takeover after a lengthy period of back and forth between the two parties.

A statement from the club read: "Manchester United plc announced today that it has entered into an agreement under which Chairman of INEOS, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, will acquire 25 per cent of Manchester United’s Class B shares and up to 25 per cent of Manchester United’s Class A shares and provide an additional $300 million intended to enable future investment into Old Trafford.

"As part of the transaction, INEOS has accepted a request by the board to be delegated responsibility for the management of the club’s football operations.

"This will include all aspects of the men's and women's football operations and academies, alongside two seats on the Manchester United PLC board and the Manchester United Football Club boards.

"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."

Back in April 2022, Ratcliffe put in an offer for Chelsea after speaking with former Blues chairman Bruce Buck, when sanctions placed on Roman Abramovich triggered a fire sale.

Ratcliffe is a petrochemicals tycoon who at his peak was worth around £21BILLION.

He runs multi-billion-pound chemicals giant Ineos, which also owns French club Nice, Swiss side Lausanne, plus a third of Formula One team Mercedes.

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Now after purchasing his stake in Man Utd he has said: "As a local boy and a lifelong supporter of the club, I am very pleased that we have been able to agree a deal with the Manchester United board that delegates us management responsibility of the football operations of the club.

"Whilst the commercial success of the club has ensured there have always been available funds to win trophies at the highest level, this potential has not been fully unlocked in recent times."

 Ratcliffe was born in Failsworth,  Lancashire

Ratcliffe was born in Failsworth, Lancashire, a commuter town just outside of Manchester.

His father was a joiner and his mother worked in accounts, with the family living in a council house until the age of ten, before eventually moving to Hull, Yorkshire.

His father later ran a factory making lab furniture.

Ratcliffe previously admitted that despite having a Chelsea season ticket for many years, he is actually a Manchester United fan.

He said: "I am a season ticket holder at Chelsea, have been for years, although I’m a Manchester United fan really.

"Or was!"

After attending Beverley Grammar School, Ratcliffe graduated from the University of Birmingham with a degree in chemical engineering.

He also attended the London Business School, studying management accounting and graduating in 1980.

 Back in 2019, Ratcliffe forked out £91m to buy Nice

Ratcliffe's first job was with oil firm Esso, before moving to American private equity group Advent international in 1989.

He only became an entrepreneur at 40, as co-founder of INSPEC and then in 1998 forming Ineos in Hampshire, buying out his partners.

The company used high-yield debt to finance deals, buying unwanted operations from bigger firms such as ISI and BP.

In 2006, Ineos bought BP's refining and petrochemical arm Innovene, giving the company refineries in five European countries and Canada.

Ineos quit the United Kingdom in 2010, moving their head office from Hampshire to Rolle, Switzerland.

The move is said to have saved Ratcliffe and his firm around £100million annually because of lesser tax.

We’d look at businesses that were unfashionable or unsexy... We’d run them a bit better, reduce the costs, make them busy, and over the cycle they are very profitable Sir Jim Ratcliffe on how his company made their billions

He did return in 2015, however, putting the chemicals and energy branch of Ineos in Knightsbridge, London, saying he was "very cheerful" about being back in the UK and untroubled by Brexit.

In fact, Ratcliffe had voted for Brexit.

However, he quit the UK in 2018, moving to tax haven Monaco .

The same year, the Sunday Times named Ratcliffe as Britain's Richest Man, with a personal wealth of £21.05bn.

Ineos, which employs around 19,000 people across the globe, makes fuels and lubricants, food packaging and construction materials that are a huge part of everyday life.

It also supplies natural gas to homes and produces plastics, acids and polystyrene.

In 2018, Ineos had a turnover of £45bn and is valued at £35bn.

He previously revealed to The Times how he made his money, saying: "We’d look at businesses that were unfashionable or unsexy, facilities owned by large corporations where you’d know they would be sloppy with the fixed costs.

"We’d run them a bit better, reduce the costs, make them busy, and over the cycle they are very profitable."

Ratcliffe has been called secretive and reclusive and according to the Financial Times has been given some nefarious nicknames by rivals and staff.

They reported he has been called JR after the scheming oil tycoon from 1980s hit show Dallas, as well as Dr No - after the Bond villain/mad scientist.

 Ratcliffe's company, Ineos, produces a range of plastics, lubricants and products used in everyday life - such as bottle tops and toothpaste


Ratcliffe, who is a vocal supporter of fracking, was married to Amanda Townson in 1985, before divorcing in 1995 - the couple had two sons.

He also has a daughter from his second wife, Alicia, whom he married in the late 1990s.

Ratcliffe had properties in Chelsea and Hampshire before quitting the country for the French Riviera.

His move to the tax haven, where he already had a property, saved him around £4BILLION in tax.

Ratcliffe was also made a Knight Bachelor in the 2018 Birthday Honours list for services to business and investment.

He has owned two large super-yachts , the Hampshire, which he sold in 2011 to take order of the Hampshire II, which he still owns.

The Hampshire II cost £130million is 257ft 6in and can house 14 guests and 23 crew.

It features six large cabins, has a swimming pool on one of the decks, a helipad, Jacuzzi, sauna, cinema and beach club.

The helipad can even be transformed into a special sports area fit for tennis, badminton, basketball, baseball or football.

His other toys include FOUR private jets and a fleet of cars - although it's not known which cars he has.

However, he is a known lover of Land Rover Defenders and has financed his own line of cars to rival his favourite 4x4.

The Ineos Projekt Grenadier starts at £55,000.

 Ratcliffe is a lover of sports and the outdoors - and financed a new 4x4 to replace the Land Rover Defender

Sir Jim has always been a huge fan of sport and physical activity.

As well as growing up a Manchester United fan, he has made expeditions to the North and South Poles and also spent three months on a motorbike trek across South Africa.

Ratcliffe is also said to have completed the London Marathon in 2007.

Before his investment into Man Utd, Ratcliffe and Ineos had already bought another football team: Swiss side FC Lausanne-Sport.

He completed the purchase of the team in November 2017, with the club sitting fifth in the Swiss Super League.

However, The Blue and Whites were RELEGATED in his first season at the helm, dropping down to the Challenge League.

The club are currently fourth in the table.

Ineos then paid £91million to take over French Ligue 1 side Nice in 2019.

Elsewhere, Ratcliffe completed a move for cycling outfit Team Sky - and turned them into Team Ineos.

He said: "Cycling is a great endurance and tactical sport that is gaining ever more popularity around the world.

"Equally, cycling continues to mushroom for the general public as it is seen to be good for fitness and health, together with easing congestion and pollution in city environments.

"Ineos is delighted to take on the responsibility of running such a professional team."

In 2018, Ratcliffe teamed with Olympic hero Sir Ben Ainslie to form Ineos Team UK, and they competed for the America's Cup from 2021.

It is believed he spent more than £110million on the project.

Clearly, with money to burn, Man Utd fans are already excited about his arrival at Old Trafford .

 Ratcliffe is a keen sailor and teamed with Olympic hero Sir Ben Ainslie to form Ineos Team UK - the billionaire has already spent £110m on the project

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Ratcliffe secures minority stake in Man United and vows to lift English club to top of world soccer

FILE - British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe, the founder of the INEOS Chemicals company, is interviewed by The Associated Press at the Iffley Road Track, in Oxford, England, April 30, 2019. British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe has completed his purchase of a 25% stake in Manchester United, the club said Tuesday Feb. 20, 2024. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)

FILE - British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe, the founder of the INEOS Chemicals company, is interviewed by The Associated Press at the Iffley Road Track, in Oxford, England, April 30, 2019. British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe has completed his purchase of a 25% stake in Manchester United, the club said Tuesday Feb. 20, 2024. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)

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MANCHESTER, England (AP) — British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe expressed his desire to lift Manchester United “to the top of English, European and world football” after completing his purchase of a minority stake in the iconic club on Tuesday.

The 71-year-old Ratcliffe paid $1.3 billion for up to 25% of United and has already invested $200 million for additional shares, meaning he owns approximately 27.7%, the club said.

United said Ratcliffe intends to invest a further $100 million by Dec. 31 “to enable future investment in infrastructure at Old Trafford.”

The deal had already been approved by the English Football Association while the Premier League has cleared Ratcliffe to take up a minority share under its rules regarding who is allowed to be an owner or director of a soccer club.

Ratcliffe is one of Britain’s richest people and the owner of petrochemicals giant INEOS. He agreed to a deal to buy a stake in United in December after the Glazer family, which owns the club, put it up for sale in 2022.

“To become co-owner of Manchester United is a great honor and comes with great responsibility,” Ratcliffe said in a statement.

Manchester City's goalkeeper Ederson lies on the ground after an injuring during the English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool and Manchester City, at Anfield stadium in Liverpool, England, Sunday, March 10, 2024. (AP Photo/Jon Super)

“This marks the completion of the transaction, but just the beginning of our journey to take Manchester United back to the top of English, European and world football, with world-class facilities for our fans. Work to achieve those objectives will accelerate from today.”

The Glazers, who also own the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, eventually opted to sell a minority stake of the 20-time English champion after also fielding bids from Qatari banker Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani .

“I would like to welcome Sir Jim as co-owner,” executive co-chairman Joel Glazer said, “and look forward to working closely with him and INEOS Sport to deliver a bright future for Manchester United.”

United hasn’t won the Premier League since 2013, the last season of Alex Ferguson’s nearly 27 years as the team’s manager. United’s most recent Champions League title was in 2008.

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Manchester United Sale Timeline: With Qataris Out, What’s Next?

By Asli Pelit

Sports Deals Reporter

  • + additional share options added

Manchester United owners Avram and Joel Glazer

In November 2022, the Glazers announced they were considering a sale of soccer club Manchester United ($MANU). The family, which also owns the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, said it would explore all strategic alternatives, including “new investment into the club, a sale or other transaction involving the company,” in a statement.

After 12 months of negotiations and bids, a buyer has emerged. The family is reportedly nearing a 25% stake sale of the team to British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe at $33 per share; if confirmed, this will bring the year-plus-long sale process to an end.

Ratcliffe’s offer values the Old Trafford club at about $5.4 billion, excluding debt.

The Glazers’ Manchester United ownership began 20 years ago when the late Malcolm Glazer bought a 2.9% stake in the club for about $5.6 million (£9 million). The billionaire made a formal takeover bid when his stake reached 57% less than two years later, and he executed a leveraged buyout of the club in 2005 at $1.5 billion, securing 98% of the shares. During the takeover, the $787 million of debt he used was incorporated onto the club’s books. By 2010 the club’s debt reached $1 billion, and despite fan backlash, the family refinanced the debt through a bond issue worth approximately £500 million.

Following the bond issue, the family opted for an IPO, and Manchester United debuted on the NYSE in 2012, raising $233 million. The IPO gave the Red Devils a market value of around $2.3 billion. At the time of the IPO, the family represented 67% of the voting power, holding class B shares with 10 votes each, thus maintaining control of the club.

The 2012-13 season was the last time Red Devils won the Premier League. Here’s what has happened since then.

Manchester United Sale Timeline

May 2013: The club’s legendary manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, announces that he will retire after 26 years at the helm. During his tenure, the club won 38 trophies, including 13 Premier League titles, five FA Cups and two UEFA Champions League titles. Ferguson is the most successful manager in British football history.

May 2014 : Malcolm Glazer dies. The family sells 12 million more shares at $17 for $200 million (£129 million). In December, Edward Glazer sells 3 million of his shares. Amid fan anger, the Glazers   rule out selling Manchester United for at least five years.

August 2017 : Through the holding company Red Football, the Glazers sell 4.3 million shares for $17 a share. They make $73 million (£58 million) from the sale.

October 2021: Avram’s brothers Kevin and Edward Glazer have sold 9.5 million shares at a price of $16.98 per share, netting a total of $161 million (£117 million).

November 2022 : The family announces it is “commencing a process to explore strategic alternatives for Manchester United,” in a statement during the annual investors meeting. $MANU shares were up more than 8% in pre-market trading and finished the day at $18.80, up more than 25%. The day before, shares rallied 15% on the news that Cristiano Ronaldo and the team mutually agreed to split.

December 2022: The family hires Raine Group to oversee the sale process. Raine facilitated the Chelsea sale the previous March.

February 2023: Raine Group sets a deadline for the first round of bids, and Man United stock jumps 10%. Since the Glazers announced a potential sale in November, $MANU stock value has more than doubled. At this point, the enterprise value of the club, including net debt, is $5.2 billion.

Qatari investor Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani and INEOS founder Jim Ratcliffe are the only parties to publicly declare their intent to bid on Manchester United, but several other bids are submitted.

Al Thani is the chairman of Qatari Islamic Bank and the son of the country’s former prime minister. Ratcliffe is the richest man in the U.K., worth $15.3 billion, according to Forbes . They are both lifelong fans of the club.

March 2023: The club reports revenue of $206 million (£167 million) for its second quarter (representing the three months ending Dec. 31, 2022), a 10% drop from the prior year, driven by the club’s absence from the Champions League resulting a decline in broadcast revenues. Net profit for the quarter is $7.7 million (£6.3 million).

April 2023: In April, Raine receives the second round of bids. Both Sheikh Jassim and Ratcliffe are in this group, along with six more bids, including the Finnish businessman and former Nokia executive Thomas Zilliacus. Raine reportedly gives feedback to these bidders ahead of the third round of the bidding process.

At the end of April, Raine accepts a third round of bids, and five parties submit, including Sheikh Jassim and Ratcliffe. Zilliacus leaves the bidding process.

June 2023: CNBC reports Manchester United is negotiating granting exclusivity to the consortium led by Sheikh Jassim in talks to sell the club for more than $6 billion.

October 2023: Sheikh Jassim withdraws his offer. Ratcliffe remains as the sole bidder for the team.

November 2023: Ariel Investments continues to sell its Manchester United stake. The Chicago-based firm reduced its position by 13% in the third quarter, leaving it holding 5.7 million shares. Ariel is the club’s second largest institutional shareholder behind Lindsell Train, which holds 11.1 million shares as of June 30.

Raine Group declined to comment for this article.

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What we’re hearing about the sale of Manchester United

Sheikh Jassim’s Manchester United takeover bid, the Qatar issue and what it means for Ratcliffe

It is three weeks since the Glazer family announced their intention to “explore strategic alternatives” for Manchester United “including new investment into the club, a sale, or other transactions”. That statement dropped and reverberations went around the world of sport — finally, after 17 years of ownership and protests, the Glazers were officially looking at ways out.


In the time since the news broke, The Athletic has spoken to people across the spectrum of the football-business world to try to find out how long this process might take, what the prospects are for a full takeover, and why United are on the market now.

At the World Cup , The Athletic even spoke to Avram Glazer outside the Al Bayt Stadium in Qatar after France’s 2-0 win over Morocco .

Asked for an update on the sale of United, the 62-year-old said: “It’s not necessarily a sale, it’s a process and we’re going forward with the process, so we’ll see what happens.”

Most of what we’ve been told by others is assured, other bits fall into the category of rumour; all should help you navigate what is a complex story.

Here is what we’ve been hearing…

The Raine Group, an investment banking firm, is acting as United’s exclusive financial advisor, which means it has a brief to get the best deal for the Glazers. The person leading these talks on their behalf is Joe Ravitch, co-founder and partner of Raine.

Ravitch, a New Yorker, had the same role in the Chelsea sale this past summer and informed people believe the blueprint in place then will be followed again.

Despite being a distressed asset due to the UK government sanctioning outgoing owner Roman Abramovich, Chelsea sold for £2.5billion because several bidders joined the auction. That figure was above expectations and as the dust settles, members of hierarchies at rival clubs have let it be known they feel Todd Boehly and his consortium overpaid.

manchester united owner yacht

Nevertheless, that market appetite to own a Premier League club is said to have encouraged the Glazers, and Ravitch is described as confident a much larger sum can be achieved at United.

Raine is aiming for a full sale in the first quarter of 2023 at a price between £6billion and £7billion. Pushed for an update in Doha, Avram Glazer said: Pushed for an update, he said: “That’s the update, it’s the process and the process is proceeding.”

Whether that money and timetable can be achieved, only time will tell — and there are people in the City of London who believe such a valuation far surpasses reality, which we will explain later.  

It is the job of Raine staff to be positive about prospects. They want to amplify optimism to increase the amount of cash that bidders are willing to pay. They have privately communicated that many parties have registered an interest. Negotiations are intended to start at a high number.

But while planning for a swift resolution, Raine also insists there will not be the same hurry that accelerated the Chelsea sale, when the UK government had imposed a deadline.

That brief window of opportunity to get the keys to Stamford Bridge perhaps elevated the size of offers, and there is no such countdown clock ticking at Old Trafford, which has left some to believe potential bidders will wait for United’s financial position to worsen before making a move. “How long is a piece of string,” was the assessment from one source, who had to remain anonymous in order to protect their position, about a timeline.

This is not Ravitch’s first involvement in a prospective takeover of United.

He was a banker at Goldman Sachs in 1999 when UK broadcaster BSkyB attempted to take the club private before the Glazers even started buying shares. Goldman Sachs was a joint corporate broker to BSkyB. Fans protested that bid by tycoon Rupert Murdoch, too. It was eventually blocked by the Department of Trade and Industry as anti-competitive after an investigation by the Monopolies and Mergers Commission.  

Those same regulations may jeopardise any approaches by media companies now.

Amazon has been mooted as a possibility by some close to the talks — the company has a sleeve sponsorship with Napoli, current leaders of Italy ’s Serie A , and also holds broadcast rights to Premier League matches. A spokesperson said: “Amazon declined to comment on rumour and speculation.”

Apple was reported to be considering a move, only for sources, who had to remain anonymous to protect their position, to confirm to The Athletic there is no interest in tabling a bid.

The only time Apple buys other companies is to integrate intellectual property into products. Apple is also careful about sponsorship too — you won’t find its logo on team shirts or other third-party brands. Apple has instead put its money into streaming coverage of football matches, signing a 10-year broadcast deal worth $250million per season with North America’s Major League Soccer which begins with its 2023 campaign.

The motivation for floating companies as forward-thinking and powerful as Amazon or Apple as potential buyers appears clear: to add a layer of attractiveness to United.

Clothing empire Zara was also linked with taking over United, but again a swift denial followed. A statement was released on behalf of Amancio Ortega, the billionaire owner of Zara. It reads: “Pontegadea, investment and asset management company of the Ortega family, denies the existence of signs of interest in the acquisition of the Manchester United club.”

Mukesh Ambani, the Indian businessman who according to Forbes is the world’s 10th richest person with a worth of $90.7billion, has been proposed as making a shift into football by experts.  

Simon Chadwick, professor of sport and geopolitical economy at the SKEMA Business School, said: “There is an increasing appetite in India for non-cricket investment opportunities in sport. This links to India’s digital and entertainment economy. City Football Group invested in Mumbai , and Mumbai is the digital, entertainment and financial capital of India. If you look at some of the things Abu Dhabi’s wealth fund is investing in, they have invested in digital start-ups in Mumbai.

“There is a sense India could be the next great frontier. We’ve already had China, and now we have Saudi Arabia.”

Ambani’s son Akash, 31, is, however, reported to be a big Arsenal fan and The Athletic has been told by sources who have to remain anonymous to protect business interests that the London club is the one the family would go for if they did enter the football world. The Ambanis, who live in a vast 27-storey mansion in Mumbai, have also been linked with Liverpool .

When it comes to offers to Raine, serious talks are yet to materialise.

Those with means of surveying a decent pool of investors believe that is because the price is being pitched too high. These are early days, though, and there is a school of thought that Raine wants to keep genuine bidders out of public discourse.

They had those intentions at Chelsea too but the process became a battle for the hearts of the masses, with fans courted to gain support because the decision was not just based on money but also the most compelling plans for their club.

There is no imperative for United’s potential buyers to win over the supporters because the Glazers will ultimately want the best financial return.

Irwin Kishner, co-chair of the Sports Law Group with New York law firm Herrick Feinstein, has worked on various sporting mergers and acquisitions, including a joint venture between baseball’s New York Yankees and Manchester City . He can convey the American view.

“It (United) is a very marketable, enticing potential investment for the right owner, not least its storied history and its ability to generate a fanbase,” Kishner says. “This is a crown jewel a lot of folks will be very interested in trying to obtain. It will come down to questions of valuation.”

He adds: “Raine will handle this in a very professional way, they will try to get maximum sterling, dollar, euro for this asset. Typically you’ll get a dozen or so declarations of interest, maybe more. They’ll whittle it down to a handful or less, and make them each think the other guy, or girl, is going higher. As far as disclosing names, often you’ll do that as part of the strategy to drive value.”

After riding through so many storms, from the green and gold protests of 2010 and the parallel campaign by the Red Knights, to the risky IPO launch on the New York Stock Exchange in 2012, to Mancunian billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s proposals in the summer, the lingering question is: why have the Glazers decided to sell now ?

More specifically, why have Joel and Avram become open to the idea? Because in truth, the other four Glazer siblings have wanted to cash in for a long time. One source, who remains anonymous to protect their position, says that rather than go through the tortuous process to take United public 10 years ago, Edward, Kevin, Bryan and Darcie Glazer would have preferred to sell up entirely then.

Undisputed, and not previously reported, is that Joel and Avram tried to buy out their siblings last summer. That is what those talks with Apollo, a private equity firm, were really about, rather than finding funding for a stadium rebuild.

Joel and Avram would have needed to raise an enormous sum of money, however.

The other four siblings hold between them 71,701,268 of the Class B shares that are worth 10 times the voting rights of the Class A shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange. The share price on August 17, when news broke of the Apollo talks, was $13.67, meaning the cumulative portion for Edward, Kevin, Bryan and Darcie was worth $980million. Darcie also has 603,806 Class A shares, equating to another $8.3million.

The theory is that Joel and Avram felt letting their brothers and sister go would free them to run United in a more unified, streamlined manner. Having four voices on the board whose focus has been on realising the value of their stakes, rather than the betterment of the club — be it infrastructure redevelopment or squad spending — clogged progression.

That would be a generous reading for Joel and Avram, given they have not shown any determination to implement genuine, lasting improvements at personal cost.

A further element to consider is how, when sold on the NYSE, the Glazers’ Class B shares automatically convert into Class A shares.

This happened with sales by Kevin and Bryan, and also Avram in the past two years. This maintains the Glazers’ voting power but also reduces the value of the shares — people will not pay as much for stock carrying a reduced say on decisions by a factor of 10 — so if money is your motivation, the mechanism would presumably be a frustration.

Some have wondered if there is a private shareholder agreement between the siblings forcing the conversion. Otherwise, the four could out-vote Joel and Avram to maintain any sales as Class B shares, thus “unlocking” their full value. The conversion is in fact baked into the rules of the B shares — ie, they can only be owned by members of the Glazer family and when sold they automatically convert to A shares.

Even on a basic level, there is talk that the four siblings who have wanted out before this year might feel money has been left on the table. United’s share price in August 2018 was $26.20, equating to an extra $900million in the value of their cumulative stock compared to the price this August.

People who have an understanding of Joel and Avram have supposed they would have believed that if United could be restored to the Premier League champions status they last held in 2013, and be playing in a new stadium, the price would triple in time.

All this was the backdrop to Joel and Avram approaching Apollo to raise funds. It is believed they would have needed to offer equity in United in exchange. Apollo declined.

Another company approached for financing was Ares. It is unclear whether that money was earmarked to buy out their siblings or fund work on Old Trafford but either way, there was no deal.

It was around this period that United’s board were shown detailed proposals about the various plans for stadium renovation.

The scale of the investment required is said to have taken Joel and Avram aback, and laid bare to executives the serious difficulties of major reconstruction.

There was a spectrum of improvements presented and at the top end, for a completely new stadium, the cost was estimated at £1.2billion to £1.6billion.

Building a new home for United from scratch on land adjacent to their current Old Trafford ground, therefore allowing games to still be played and money to be made during the years of construction involved, was tabled as an option. At the lower end of the scale was an expansion of the South Stand, but even that would require a major structure to be built over a nearby railway line to enable the demolition.

No choice is cheap.

Still, rather than the typical Glazer black hole that work of this significance usually falls into, there was momentum behind the plans. Joel and United chief executive Richard Arnold gave detailed feedback, geared towards a rebuild of the current stadium, while respecting its heritage and tradition — something fans have made sure is present in conversations.

So the sale announcement came as a surprise to those familiar with that dialogue. A prospective takeover naturally places any stadium progress on hold.

Another person who seemed caught off-guard by the turn of events was Ratcliffe.

He held talks with the Glazers in the summer but then said at a speaking engagement with the Financial Times in October: “They don’t want to sell it.”

There is a suggestion Ratcliffe actually made a bid for United in the summer, hence his clarity over the Glazers’ position.

He could be forgiven for feeling bruised about the episode, given the club is very much on the market now, but he is expected to put that aside to enter the running. Sir Dave Brailsford, director of sport at Nice, the Ligue 1 club owned by Ratcliffe’s firm Ineos, knows Manchester well, having managed the successful British Cycling programme from the city’s velodrome.

Jim Ratcliffe has been linked with a move for Manchester United (Photo: Getty Images)

Crucially, it is felt that Joel Glazer has shifted position since those days of dialogue over the stadium and with Ratcliffe. Exactly why is unclear, but an inability to buy out his siblings, the cost of improving Old Trafford, and the rising debt could have created a perfect storm, together with ongoing protests in person and against sponsors.

United’s quarterly results, released last week, paint a bleak picture of creaking bank balances.

One alarming detail is that United are very close to, or might be already exceeding, £1billion of debt. That is made up of approximately £580m in gross debt from the Glazers’ leveraged buyout in 2005, plus £200m on the revolving credit facility (which was used to make signings in the last transfer window), and £250m net owed on transfers. Those figures do not take into account the strengthening of the pound against the dollar — the currency United use with US banks — since Liz Truss resigned as Prime Minister, and ongoing shifts to the net transfer debt, but whatever the precise number, it is an enormous sum of money and something any new owners will have to account for when valuing the club.

There is a suggestion in finance circles that Raine could have acted for Liverpool but got a sense United would follow, so waited.

So, who could realistically buy United?

Well, the names on any such list depends on how much money the Glazers are going to demand. At Raine’s top-end valuation of £7billion, the pool shrinks.

Even someone as wealthy as Ratcliffe could not supply that kind of money on their own, as he alluded to in his talk with the Financial Times.

He would also, it is anticipated, need to have dialogue with his partners in Ineos, of which he owns two-thirds. In April, he made a bid of £4.25billion for Chelsea — £2.5bn to take ownership and £1.75bn committed to future investment — with some suspecting he left it until then to step forward because he was waiting for the price to come down. The jump from that Chelsea bid to Raine’s £6bn to £7bn target for United is significant.

Ratcliffe could join a consortium, as happened when a group of wealthy United fans created the Red Knights to try to buy the club 12 years ago, but getting the balance of individuals right is a delicate task.

Fans will press for the Glazers to make the club affordable to people who have sporting success as a primary motivation. Joel has given the strong impression he does care for the future of United, so walking the walk would mean accepting a fair price from a bidder so money can be freed up to invest in the team and infrastructure such as the stadium.

The Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST) appealed to that sentiment in an open letter to the Glazer family, writing: “Now you can do two things for your legacy — the first is to prioritise the best interests of Manchester United Football Club over the financial interests of the selling shareholders. Our club, at this moment in time more than ever, needs the right ownership and that should be the priority rather than simply the highest bidders and highest return for you. Second, we implore you to move with speed.”

The Glazers are capitalists, so that rhetoric may fall on deaf ears, but they are already in profit from the £270million they paid for shares in the 2005 takeover, so whatever happens now they will earn huge amounts extra.

The Athletic has explained how valuing football clubs is an inexact science . And Football Benchmark, an offshoot of accounting giant KPMG, last week released its appraisal of the United landscape. In a report, Andrea Sartori, Football Benchmark’s founder and chief executive, wrote: “The gap between the rumoured transaction price and the theoretical value of Manchester United FC appears enormous.”

Football Benchmark provides a value based on a formula relating to revenues that places United’s worth at £2.425billion, second only to Real Madrid at £2.679billion.

Billionaire Sir Michael Moritz, who co-authored former United manager Sir Alex Ferguson’s 2015 book Leading and is known to members of the Red Knights group, wrote an analytical piece in The Times on how the price tag being mooted is unrealistic.

But Sartori adds that elite clubs are seen as “trophy assets… often viewed by investors in a way that goes well beyond pure financial metrics. Competition is often intense for such assets. The result is a seller’s market in which the current owner has more power and influence over the asking price”.

Kishner says on United: “Based on what Chelsea went for, and based on what you’re hearing on this side of the ocean, I could easily see it establishing a record for a franchise.”

United’s market capitalisation, the total of all shares multiplied by the stock price, stands at £2.7billion. Shares have risen from $13.03 to $20.05 in the weeks since the sale was announced, indicating faith that the club are worth a higher value.

But if investors thought the Glazers would get that £7billion, it’s felt the share price would have risen by more to reflect that belief, because it would represent profit once a takeover happens. The shares have fallen slightly from $22.73 in the last week, too.

Nation states are the obvious candidates to come forward with such huge offers, but multiple experts have cast doubt on this being the right time for many of them to do so.

The Athletic has outlined the case for Saudi Arabia , while members of Qatar’s Supreme Committee have privately reflected Premier League clubs are now too expensive and that most of their value has been extracted already. This echoes a strong sense from people in the financial world that while countries in the Arabian Gulf region are incredibly wealthy, they do not want to be exploited on these kinds of deals by Westerners.

And that is before we consider the potential conflict with Qatar ’s ownership of serial French champions Paris Saint-Germain.

Dubai has twice been given financial bailouts from United Arab Emirates neighbour Abu Dhabi since the 2008 financial collapse, and is also focused on investing in tourism. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, is reportedly a Liverpool fan anyway.  

Bahrain has a different sporting focus, having pumped lots of money into Formula 1 motor racing.

Kristian Ulrichsen, a fellow for the Middle East at the Baker Institute think tank and an author, says: “Bahrain don’t have much oil and the Bahrain economy is struggling. They could take over a smaller team, but I don’t see them having the resources to take over Liverpool or Manchester United. They have taken over the second team in Paris, for example. Kuwait and Oman haven’t shown any interest. Kuwait has the resources but doesn’t seem to have the interest. Oman might have interest, but has a lack of resources.”

It is also worth considering how anticipated government regulation may impact football club owners in the future. A white paper is expected on the issue soon. Current opposition party Labour has committed to bringing forward legislation if they win power. Tightening rules on who can buy into the Premier League is speculated as another reason why Joel Glazer has put United up for sale now.

Of course, the statement also says that minority investment is a possibility. But people have questioned who would hand over large sums of money but allow the Glazers to maintain control of United, especially when under their leadership the financial picture has become so fraught and their name is toxic among the fanbase.

Imagine the potential rise in United’s revenues when supporters are not boycotting merchandise or sponsors.

But Kishner thinks American investors will be interested in getting a foot in the door at United, if that’s what it comes down to.

He expects the same individuals who went for Chelsea to look at the Manchester side. A consortium led by Stephen Pagliuca, part-owner of the NBA ’s Boston Celtics and Serie A’s Atalanta , and another group made up of Sir Martin Broughton, the former Liverpool and British Airways chairman, plus billionaire Crystal Palace shareholders Dave Blitzer and Josh Harris made bids for Chelsea.

Kishner says: “The idea of selling minority stakes in these iconic clubs is not unheard of — it’s done all the time in the US. Some of the most prestigious clubs have done it successfully. Sometimes, people will take a minority interest as a path to gaining control. It’s a very viable way of raising capital.”

Whether supporters will be included in any proposal remains to be seen.

It would be a shrewd move for bidders to have dialogue with influential groups, but there is no guarantee that will happen.

There is also no assurance the Fan Share Scheme, which Joel has been negotiating with MUST for several months, will now come to fruition. Those talks to try to establish meaningful supporter ownership are on hold.

This is a moment of opportunity for United fans desperate to see the backs of the Glazers, but also a moment of jeopardy.  

(Other contributors: Adam Crafton, Matt Slater, Dan Sheldon and Omar Garrick)

(Graphic: Sam Richardson)

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Manchester United Sells 25 Percent Ownership Stake to Jim Ratcliffe

The billion-dollar deal leaves the team’s unpopular owners, the Glazer family, in control of the club, but it delegates important responsibilities to their new partner.

Players from Manchester United, in red, and Luton Town, in white, on a soccer field.

By Tariq Panja

After a year of rumors, offers, final deadlines and final, final deadlines, the owners of Manchester United on Sunday announced that they had sold a minority stake in the team, English soccer’s most successful club, to the British petrochemical billionaire Jim Ratcliffe.

The sale of the 25 percent stake in United, the former English and European champion, was confirmed by representatives of United and INEOS, Mr. Ratcliffe’s company, and announced by the club on social media.

In addition to acquiring a significant ownership stake, Mr. Ratcliffe also agreed to provide another $300 million “intended to enable future investment into Old Trafford,” the club’s iconic stadium. As part of the deal, INEOS was given responsibility for managing the team’s soccer operations, granting it effective control over “all aspects” of the United men’s and women’s teams and also the club’s youth academy.

The deal concluded a chaotic process that many of the team’s fans had hoped would end with something far more significant: the departure from the club of the team’s current owners, the Florida-based Glazer family, which has controlled United since acquiring it in a leveraged buyout in 2005.

Instead, the Glazers will remain the team’s majority owners while netting a sum that values Manchester United around $6.3 billion, or more than five times the amount the Glazers paid to buy it almost two decades ago. And in deputizing the INEOS Sports group — which already has interests in soccer, auto racing, cycling and rugby — to run the soccer operations, the Glazer family may insulate itself from the harshest criticisms of fans.

“Through INEOS Sport, Manchester United will have access to seasoned high-performance professionals, experienced in creating and leading elite teams from both inside and outside the game,” the United co-chairmen and brothers Joel and Avram Glazer said.

Mr. Ratcliffe, through INEOS, agreed to pay $33 per share for his 25 percent stake, a price that represents a nearly 70 percent premium on the current value of the team’s shares on the New York Stock Exchange.

“As a local boy and a lifelong supporter of the club, I am very pleased that we have been able to agree a deal with the Manchester United board that delegates us management responsibility of the football operations of the club,” Mr. Ratcliffe said in United’s statement on the sale. “Whilst the commercial success of the club has ensured there have always been available funds to win trophies at the highest level, this potential has not been fully unlocked in recent times.”

The sale process began more than a year ago, kicked off by an offhand comment from Elon Musk on social media that he was buying the club. Musk later said his offer had been a joke, but the Glazers were apparently serious about hearing more .

United hired the U.S.-based merger and acquisition specialist Raine Group to manage a prospective sale after the firm secured a record price, roughly $3 billion, for another English club, Chelsea . When the Glazers made clear they were open to hearing offers, bidders quickly lined up , including not only Mr. Ratcliffe, but also an American investment fund and a Qatari businessman with links to some of the Gulf country’s most influential figures. Their offers seemed to rise with each new media report.

The entire process took place against a backdrop of months of conflicting headlines, fan protests and swings in the club’s stock price — and all as the team, once a fixture at the top of the Premier League standings, struggled for consistency, and wins, on the field.

“It’s been a process that’s been all about the best interests of the Glazer family above the interests of the club,” said Duncan Drasdo, a United fan and the chief executive of the Manchester United Supporters’ Trust, a group that has protested the club’s ownership since the Glazers first arrived at Old Trafford.

The nature of the original acquisition saw the Glazer family’s late patriarch, Malcolm, burned in effigy, and prompted the Premier League to belatedly draw up regulations so such a transaction could not be repeated. The Glazer family took control after borrowing the majority of the cost of their 805 million pound takeover (roughly $1 billion today) against United’s previously debt-free balance sheet. In the two decades since, the club has paid more than £1 billion in interest and other costs related to the Glazer takeover, while its debt has now surpassed £1 billion, too.

The decision to consider even a partial sale was celebrated by the team’s enormous fan base when it was announced in November 2022. By then United had gone almost a decade without a Premier League title, a championship it last celebrated in 2013, and been usurped as English soccer’s dominant club by its cross town rival Manchester City, thanks to the backing of a member of the ruling family of the United Arab Emirates.

A similar possibility for United emerged when the businessman son of one of Qatar’s men, the former prime minister Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, announced his intention to buy the team. That offer was widely promoted on social media by fans, influencers and even former players, including Rio Ferdinand, a former captain, who in June created a frenzy and a spike in United’s share price when he announced a sale to the Qatari group was “imminent.”

That proved to be a false dawn. And it was not the only one. Other headlines in British news media, which treated the takeover in ways more typical of high profile player trades in the transfer market, led to similar lifts and dips in both hopes and the price of United shares.

The conclusion of the sale process will not produce the outcome many fans had hoped to see: the Glazers’ sale of the team. Mr. Ratcliffe now will control only 25 percent of the club’s voting rights through a mix of the Glazers’ stake and a portion of those owned by other shareholders. As part of the deal, the Glazers will relinquish day-to-day control of the sporting activities of the club but will retain control of United’s commercial activities and still hold the majority of board positions.

Mr. Ratcliffe seemed pleased with the deal he had made — “We are here for the long term,” he said of his new management team — but the reaction of fans might not be as universally positive.

“I think the problem with it is that it leaves the fan base feeling divided,” Mr. Drasdo said. “It leaves a sense of resentment and negativity that’s not helpful. A clean break would have been better.”

Fans will be hoping the new era will lead to a return of United’s winning ways, and a reversal of the botched succession planning that followed the retirement of the legendary coach Alex Ferguson after he led the team to the last of its 20 league championships in 2013. Since then, new coaches have come and gone, and vast sums have been spent on new recruits. But without a discernible strategy, the club now finds itself with a bloated and underperforming roster, and clinging to eighth place in the 20-team Premier League.

“It’s better than the status quo,” said Andy Green, a board member of MUST and the head of investments at Rockpool, a private equity firm. “Because they have proved themselves as being absolutely appalling at being football club owners.”

An earlier version of this article referred incorrectly to the number of league championships Manchester United has won. It is 20, not 19.

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Tariq Panja covers some of the darker corners of the global sports industry. He is also a co-author of “Football’s Secret Trade,” an exposé on soccer’s multibillion-dollar player trading industry. More about Tariq Panja

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  • Who Owns Manchester United?...

Who Owns Manchester United? Detailed Guide

  • Jan 10, 2024

manchester united owner yacht

Manchester United, one of the most successful and renowned football clubs in the world, has captured the hearts of fans with its illustrious history and iconic moments on the pitch. 

Beyond the players and the game, ownership plays a crucial role in shaping the destiny of the club. 

In this article, we will delve into who owns Manchester United, tracing its historical background, examining the controversial Glazer ownership era, and exploring the impact of ownership on decision making and finances.

Historical Background

Manchester United’s fascinating journey began in 1878 when it was founded as Newton Heath LYR Football Club. Financial struggles plagued the club, necessitating a change in ownership in 1902. Enter J.H. Davies, a local businessman who stepped in and renamed the club Manchester United.

Over the years, the club witnessed various ownership transitions. In 1931, James Gibson took control of Manchester United, making significant contributions such as establishing the club’s progressive youth academy system. 

Under the stewardship of Matt Busby, Manchester United experienced both triumph and tragedy, triumph with the European Cup win in 1968 and tragedy with the Munich Air Disaster in 1958. Busby rebuilt the team, and his legacy inspired future generations.

Sir Alex Ferguson, the longest-serving manager in the club’s history, took the helm in 1986, leading Manchester United to unprecedented success. His reign saw the club dominate domestic and European football, including a historic treble-winning season in 1999.

Who Owns Manchester United? All You Need To Know

The Glazer Ownership Era

Leveraged buyout and controversy.

In 2005, Manchester United experienced a significant shift in ownership when the Glazer family, headed by Malcolm Glazer, a prominent American businessman and owner of the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, acquired the club through a highly controversial leveraged buyout. The purchase was carried out via their holding company, Red Football Limited.

The Glazer takeover immediately sparked significant dissent and anger among the club’s loyal supporters. One major point of contention was the substantial debt incurred to facilitate the acquisition. 

This mounting debt burden raised concerns among fans who believed that the interests of the owners were prioritized over the team’s success on the pitch.

Financial Implications and Fan Unrest

The leveraged buyout led to an enormous increase in Manchester United’s debt, which, in turn, affected the club’s financial stability and flexibility. 

The massive debt service obligation limited the available funds for player transfers and investments, leading to frustration among fans, who felt that the club’s competitiveness suffered as a result.

Furthermore, the Glazer ownership drew criticism for the lack of transparency and communication with supporters. 

Fans were disillusioned by the perceived disregard for their opinions and concerns regarding key decisions and the overall direction of the club.

Response from the Supporters

The Glazer ownership era prompted significant activism and protest among Manchester United supporters. Fan groups, such as the Manchester United Supporters’ Trust (MUST), emerged and became vocal critics of the Glazer family’s ownership. 

Fans expressed their frustration through various means, including demonstrations, boycotts of merchandise, and even attempts to form a breakaway club.

The Green and Gold campaign symbolized the fans’ united front against the Glazer ownership, with supporters often wearing green and gold scarves, the colors reminiscent of Newton Heath LYR Football Club, Manchester United’s predecessor. 

The movement aimed to raise awareness about the perceived financial mismanagement and lack of regard for the club’s traditions.

Legacy and Ongoing Impact

The Glazer ownership era and the associated fan unrest have left a lasting impact on Manchester United’s identity. 

While the club continued to achieve success under the Glazers’ ownership, winning multiple Premier League titles and reaching several Champions League finals, the divide between the owners and the fans persisted.

The financial repercussions of the leveraged buyout continued to affect the club’s decisions and ability to compete in the transfer market. 

The Glazers’ ownership style and financial strategies have often been criticized for hindering the club’s potential and impeding its ability to attract top-tier talent.

In recent years, however, the Glazers have made some attempts at reconciliation by engaging more directly with fans and addressing some of their concerns. These efforts include the creation of a Fan Advisory Board and increased investment in the squad. 

Nonetheless, the scars from the Glazer ownership era remain, and the relationship between the owners and the supporters continues to be a contentious issue within the Manchester United community.

Who Owns Manchester United? Current Ownership Structure

The Glazer family continues to hold ownership of Manchester United . Following the passing of Malcolm Glazer in 2014, his six children assumed control of the club. Joel and Avram Glazer now serve as co-chairmen, overseeing the day-to-day operations.

The Glazers’ ownership structure has drawn criticism for its lack of transparency and communication with fans. Supporters have expressed frustration at the limited engagement from the owners regarding key decisions and the club’s direction.

Manchester United

Club Management

During their tenure the Glazers have made several managerial changes. In 2013, David Moyes succeeded Sir Alex Ferguson but faced a challenging tenure, eventually departing after just ten months. 

Louis van Gaal took charge next, followed by Jose Mourinho, before the current manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjær, assumed the role.

Financial Implications

The debt-driven acquisition by the Glazers has significant financial implications for Manchester United. The club’s debt load, which stood at around £550 million in 2021, has created ongoing concerns among supporters.

The club’s financial performance, however, has remained relatively strong. Manchester United consistently ranks among the highest-earning football clubs globally, primarily driven by commercial revenue streams and a global fan base. 

Despite this, the debt service obligations have limited the club’s ability to make substantial investments in the squad.

Recent Developments and Potential Changes

Recent years have witnessed rumors and speculation surrounding potential changes in Manchester United’s ownership structure. 

In 2020, reports emerged suggesting interest from the Saudi Arabian royal family in acquiring the club. However, these reports were later dismissed, and no change in ownership materialized.

The launch of the European Super League in April 2021 brought ownership matters to the forefront once again. 

The Glazer family was among the key driving forces behind the controversial breakaway league, prompting renewed protests from fans, who expressed their dissatisfaction with the club’s ownership.

Ownership is a significant facet of Manchester United’s legacy, impacting the club’s trajectory both on and off the pitch. The Glazer family’s ownership, though contentious, has been a period of success, marred by fan unrest and concerns about financial stability. 

As the club continues its journey, ownership will remain a critical influence on the club’s fortunes, shaping its future and impacting the dreams of fans worldwide.

Manchester United thrives through a delicate balance between ownership, supporters, and the love of the beautiful game, representing an enduring legacy that transcends the boundaries of football.

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Manchester United now have one of the most unique ownership situations in world football following the Glazer family selling 27.7 per cent of the club to Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s company, INEOS.

The Glazers have been in power since 2004, and have since not exactly been adored by Red Devils supporters during their time at Old Trafford . They have a long history with the club that has affected everything from the manager and the coaching staff , to the first-team squad at Carrington .

In December of 2023 – it was officially announced that Ratcliffe’s INEOS would be securing a part-stake in the club, which fans hope will change the trajectory of Manchester United forever.

Manchester United v AFC Bournemouth - Premier League

Manchester United’s ownership – Explained

Manchester United ‘s ownership is unique – which is why it’s a difficult one to grasp.

It’s a situation where Sir Jim Ratcliffe , owner of INEOS , is purchasing control of 27.7 per cent of Manchester United to run 100 per cent of the football operations.

Ratcliffe and co are buying 27.7 per cent of the Class B shares owned by the Glazer family. These are called ‘super-voting shares’, so although the Glazers only own 69 per cent of Manchester United, their shares come with voting rights, which means, effectively, they own 97 per cent of the club – hence meaning they can make all the big decisions.

Ratcliffe’s company, INEOS, has bought 27.7 per cent of Manchester United in exchange for sporting control. The deal cost around £1.3billion.

So essentially, this means the club’s football operation is now be overseen by INEOS but the Glazer family, who have owned United since 2005, remain in overall charge, which includes just about everything else.

Ratcliffe does have a say in his team, where he’s already brought in the likes of Omar Berrada and Sir Dave Brailsford – potentially soon-to-be Jean-Claude Blanc .

The club officially confirmed the part-takeover had been completed on the 20th of January 2024, following approval of all conditions, including the FA and the Premier League .

Glazers Attend Manchester United Training Session

A full history of The Glazers and Manchester United

The stewardship at Old Trafford previously fell just on the shoulders of Glazer’s six children to whom he awarded the ownership after his passing in 2014. He was survived by Avram, Joel, Kevin, Bryan, Darcie and Edward with the first two also having the biggest roles at the club.

  • READ MORE: Who are the Glazers? Meet the family of the chaos-inducing Manchester United owners

When did the Glazers become the owners of Manchester United?

The Glazer family first bought shares in Manchester United in March 2003 before steadily increasing their ownership. The family bought 2.9% control of the Red Devils for £9m before upping their stake to 15% by the end of the year and 30% by October 2004.

May 2005 then saw the Glazers secure full ownership of Manchester United as they bought John Magnier and McManus out. The American family increased their stake to 50% to force a full takeover over the following weeks. It ultimately cost them around £800m to buy the club.

However, it is now estimated that the Glazer’s takeover cost Manchester United more than £1bn in interest and additional fees. The family financed their purchase of the Old Trafford side using loans secured against the club’s assets. It also loaded the club with a lot of debt – which angered Manchester United fans.

There was a constant timeline of protests from loyal Manchester United supporters opposed to the Glazer family ownership. Some supporters even got a game against Liverpool postponed in April 2021.

Supports half-got their wish with the appointment of Sir Jim Ratcliffe and INEOS – but the Glazers remain an ever-present force around Old Trafford to this day.

What have Manchester United won since the Glazers became the club’s owners?

Manchester United had already established themselves as one of England’s most successful teams before the Glazers took full ownership in 2005. The club won the Premier League title in 1992/93, 1993/94, 1995/96, 1996/97, 1998/99, 1999/2000, 2000/01 and 2002/03.

The Old Trafford side would also go on to win the English top-flight title again in 2006/07, 2007/08, 2008/09, 2010/11 and 2012/13. But they have since endured a barren run since Sir Alex Ferguson retired as the club’s manager in 2013. He had stood at their helm since 1986.

Manchester United have also won a Champions League title (2007/08), FIFA Club World Cup (2008/09), one Europa League crown (2016/17), an FA Cup title (2015/16) and three English Football League Cup titles (2009/10, 2016/17, 2022/23) since the Glazers gained ownership.

What other sports franchises do the Glazer family own?

Along with Manchester United, the Glazers also own a clutch of other sports franchises. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are their other central interest. Malcolm Glazer bought the National Football League (NFL) team in 1995 and the family still own the Florida-based franchise.

Under the Glazer family, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won the franchise’s maiden Super Bowl title in 2002. They also won a second in the 2020 season spearheaded by iconic quarterback Tom Brady. It also saw the Buccs become the first team to play the Super Bowl on home turf.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers state on their official website that owner and co-chairman Joel Glazer oversees day-to-day operations. Bryan Glazer also has a day-to-day operational role.

Avram Glazer, meanwhile, bought a T20 cricket franchise in the United Arab Emirates in late 2021, per Sky Sports . He did so by acting as the chairman of private equity firm Lancer Capital.

How much are the Glazers worth?

According to Forbes , the Glazer family held a net worth of almost $6bn (£5bn) as of 2022. By owning the Tampa Bay Buccaneers alongside Manchester United, the family also owns one of the most valuable sports empires. It had them as the eighth-most valuable group at the time.

Part of the family’s net worth came from Forbes valuing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at close to $3.5bn (£3bn) in 2022. Yet the Bucs were only the 24th-most valuable NFL team in 2022. It also adds that the Glazers bought the NFL franchise back in 1995 for just $192m (£169m).

Sir Jim Ratcliffe visits Carrington Training Complex

A full history of INEOS and Manchester United

Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s arrival with his INEOS firm was a welcomed one for Manchester United supporters, which sure did take its time in surfacing.

  • READ MORE: Who are INEOS? Exploring Man Utd co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s billion-pound business

When did INEOS and Sir Jim Ratcliffe become the part-owners of Manchester United?

Manchester United officially reached an agreement for Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Chairman of INEOS, to acquire up to a 25% shareholding in the club on the 24th of December 2023.

The deal formulated was over a year in the making, with speculation starting about a bid on November the 23rd 2022. It was officially announced on the 17th of January 2023 that Sir Jim Ratcliffe was in the race to become owner of Manchester United.

Quoted by Sky News , Ratcliffe’s firm Ineos stated: “We have formally put ourselves into the process.”The petrochemical company was the first potential bidder to come forward.

The proposed takeover seemed to go on for an absolute age – spanning well over a year.

What have Manchester United won since Sir Jim Ratcliffe and INEOS became the club’s owners?

At the time of writing, Manchester United have not won any trophies under Sir Jim Ratcliffe. Current manager Erik ten Hag will be looking to change that shortly.

What other sports franchises do Sir Jim Ratcliffe and INEOS own?

The first sports team INEOS bought was the Swiss Super League team FC Lausanne-Sport in 2017, but this isn’t his current pride and joy aside from United – Ratcliffe also owns Ligue 1 side Nice, purchased in 2019.

Away from football, Ineos also owns the successful sailing team Ineos Britannia – formerly Ineos Team UK, skippered by the legendary Sir Ben Ainslie. Cycling team Ineos Grenadiers is also among the company’s roster, which has already yielded success in the Tour de France.

Ineos also owns a third of Formula 1 team Mercedes, becoming principal partners on a five-year contract in 2020.

How much is Sim Jim Ratcliffe and INEOS worth?

According to Bloomberg’s Billionaire Index , as of 2024 – Sir Jim Ratcliffe is currently worth £14.5 billion ($18.4b). This currently has him as the 103rd richest person in the world.

His company, INEOS, will fluctuate year on year in price, but in 2022, they had a net income of 2 billion, whilst also having 17 billion in assets.

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David Beckham speaks out on Glazer family’s ownership of Manchester United

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David Beckham has spoken out on the Glazer family’s controversial ownership of his beloved Manchester United .

The Americans have owned the Premier League side since 2005 and many United fans have staged protests against them over many issues such as plunging the club into debt and a lack of investment in the stadium and training facilities.

But the Glazers put United on the market last year and negotiations over a possible sale of the club are still ongoing after Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani submitted a fifth bid last month.

The Qatari banker wants full ownership of the Red Devils but must fend off rival bidder Sir Jim Ratcliffe , who is looking for a majority stake which could see the Glazer family may remain at Old Trafford in some capacity .

United legend Beckham, though, has urged the Glazers to leave United as he told The Athletic : ‘Off the field, as a fan and ex-player, I just want it resolved.

‘There has to be a decision (regarding the ownership). Whoever is running your club, you want them to be passionate, be involved, make the right decisions, bring in the right players and invest in the club.

‘Because the club does need investment, whether it’s the training facility, stadium, on the field… these kinds of big things need to be made and changes do need to happen, especially when you see the likes of Man City and what they’re doing.’

Quizzed if it was time for the Glazers to leave, Beckham added: ‘I think so. I think it’s purely because the fans want it.

‘Once you lose the fans, especially at a club like Manchester United, it’s hard to get them back.

‘Obviously, they (the Glazers) have achieved a lot, and financially, the fact we’re even talking about the numbers of what Manchester United will sell for shows the success they’ve had. But there needs to be change. We’ve all seen that, we all know that.’

MORE : Avram Glazer refuses to answer questions on Manchester United ownership after FA Cup final

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Who owns Manchester United now? How much did the Glazers pay in 2005? How much does Sir Jim Ratcliffe own?

Who are the current owners of manchester united .

The Glazer family majority owns Manchester United, while Sir Jim Ratcliffe is a significant minority shareholder. 

The late Malcolm Glazer, the father of Avram and Joel, first bought a small shareholding in United in 2003. The Glazer family took control of the club through a leveraged buyout two years later in a deal worth £790m. 

British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe, who runs petrochemicals giant Ineos, agreed to buy a 25 per cent stake in the club last month for around £1.25bn following a long saga involving a rival bid from Qatari billionaire Sheikh Jassim. 

Ratcliffe, who says he is a lifelong United fan, now controls the club’s football operations. He has also invested an additional £245m, which will go towards improving the club’s infrastructure. 

Manchester United were listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 2012. The club received an injection of around $233m at a club valuation of $2.3bn. 

What is the breakdown of ownership?

Who are the directors and chairman of manchester united .

Brothers Avram and Joel Glazer are executive co-chairmen and directors. 

Ratcliffe and one other Ineos representative are set to join the board upon the deal’s approval by the Premier League.

Interim chief executive Patrick Stewart, the club’s legal officer, and chief financial officer Cliff Baty are also on the board, as are Avram and Joel’s siblings Kevin, Bryan, Edward and Darcie Glazer Kassewitz. 

Robert Leitão, a managing partner at bank Rothschild, former cricket executive Manu Sawhney and luxury fashion industry businessman John Hooks are all independent directors. 

What is the Glazers’ net worth?

The Glazer family’s net worth is $4.7bn, according to Forbes .

The siblings inherited real estate assets and the ownership of Manchester United as well as the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

Jim Ratcliffe is worth around $20bn . His chemicals company Ineos brings in over $60bn each year. 

Ratcliffe is also the owner of French side OGC Nice. He has owned the club since 2019.

The Monaco-based billionaire tried to buy Chelsea in 2022 after Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich was forced to sell the club, 

When did the Glazers buy Manchester United and who was the previous owner?

The Glazers took control of Manchester United through a leveraged buyout in 2005.

They replaced Irish investors JP McManus and John Magnier as majority owners in a deal which valued the club at £790m. 

Sports mogul Malcolm Glazer had begun to build a stake in 2003 when previous owners JP McManus and John Magnier were in charge.

The club was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 2012 at a value of around $2.3bn.

Most of the Glazer family members including Avram, Kevin and Edward sold some of their shares in the following years. 

The Glazers said they were open to a sale in November 2022. It set off a race between Jim Ratcliffe and Qatar’s Sheikh Jassim, with both wanting to take full control of the club. 

After over a year of negotiations, the Glazers settled for a minority sale. 

As Sheikh Jassim withdrew his bid in October, the Glazers decided to sell 25 per cent of the club to Jim Ratcliffe for £1.25bn. 

What is the Glazers’ record as Manchester United owner?

Fans have heavily criticised the Glazers for their ownership of Manchester United. 

Their leveraged buyout in 2005 burdened the club with significant debt, which now stands at around £725m . Many supporter groups protested against the deal in 2005, claiming the Glazers would extract money away from the club for personal business interests. 

The height of club protests came in 2021 when several fans broke barriers and stormed the pitch at Old Trafford. 

In the same year, Manchester United’s owners signed up to the failed European Super League project. Joel Glazer was the competition’s vice-chairman. 

Since former manager Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013, Manchester United have failed to win any Premier League or Champions League titles. They have won one Europa League and one FA Cup. 

Si rJim Ratcliffe co-owns Manchester United.

Man City owner's new £500million yacht is fourth largest in world and has two helipads

Sheikh Mansour has treated himself to a luxury £500million megayacht that has enough cabins for 48 guests as well as a swimming platform, nightclub and two helipads for good measure

  • 16:56, 7 JUL 2022

Manchester city owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan looks on during the English Premier League football match against Liverpool at The City of Manchester stadium, Manchester, north-west England on August 23, 2010.

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Billionaire owner Sheikh Mansour looks to have celebrated Manchester City's fourth Premier League title in five seasons in style by buying the fourth largest yacht in world.

With an estimated net worth of £17billion, the deputy prime minster of the United Arab Emirates wouldn't have been too bothered in splashing out £500million on Lurssen Yachts' 160m creation fittingly dubbed BLUE.

As well as a swimming platform, nightclub and two helipads, the ship can play host to 48 guests across 40 cabins while employing 80 members of staff to keep things running smoothly.

READ MORE: Topless Jack Grealish scores screamer in training as Man City star back to work

Lurssen are one of the leading builders of luxury superyachts and have a length history having been founded way back in 1875.

The 15,320-tonne vessel, which can travel at speeds of 19 knots or 21.8mph, has an engine that is part diesel and part electric while producing drinking water with it's own waste water treatment plant.

Other features include a beauty salon, sauna, gym, deck jacuzzi as well as wifi and air conditioning and a lift for easily movement across floors.

Will Manchester City dominate the Premier League for years to come? Give us your thoughts in the comments section below .

Sheikh Mansour's new ride has a swimming platform and even a nightclub

Managing partner Peter Lurssen has said of the project: "To execute such a comprehensive project, an excellent team is necessary.

"In this case, the team consisted of the owner's technical project management team, the design team from Terence Disdale who are responsible for the contemporary exterior and the traditional fresh interior design and of course, Lurssen's own project team."

With a full tank of petrol will cost Mansour in the region of £500,000, the purchase cost as reported by SuperYachtFan was more than double the £210m that was paid for City back in 2008 through the Abu Dhabi United Group.

48 guests can be hosted across 40 cabins with 80 staff running the show

The 51-year-old already owns the more modest 483ft A+ yacht which was built by the same manufacturers back in 2012 with Lurssen building three of the top seven biggest ever.

Lurssen adds: "We are very proud of Blue as yet another statement of Lurssen's ability and desire to build yachts that meet all of our exacting owners' requirements.

"Guided by our core focus of expert engineering, beautiful design and being a proud market leader in developing sustainable technologies."

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Man City owner Mansour spends £380k on fuel for his luxury yacht

Sheik Mansour's yacht is one of the world's most expensive

  • 21:28, 7 JUL 2016
  • Updated 07:04, 8 JUL 2016

manchester united owner yacht

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Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan’s luxury yacht was docked in Turkey on Thursday.

And according to an Anadolu Agency report, it was refuelled during it’s time spent at the Marmaris Port at a cost of around £380,000!

Mansour’s 149-metre long yacht, Topaz, is thought to be worth around £342 million and is one of the top 10 most expensive in the world.

It takes 730,000 litres of fuel to fill up Topaz – a process which takes around five hours to complete.

The yacht originally tried to stop at the Marmaris marina – but it was too large and had to be redirected to the Marmaris Port.

There are 50 staff on board, six luxury suites, a heliport and numerous swimming pools and meeting halls.

Anyone concerned his money may dry up should probably think again.

Watch: Stuart Brennan on Bonucci - Will the transfer happen?

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Manchester City owner buys 600 million dollar yacht

It is one of the world's largest yachts

Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan

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Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan took advantage of the summer break in European football to treat himself to a small gift.

It is an impressive yacht, valued at 600 million dollars, and considered as one of the most expensive in the world.

At 160 meters long, his yacht is 55 metres longer than Manchester City 's stadium, the Etihad.

Its interior has 40 cabins, which can accommodate up to 48 people.

It also has a swimming pool, gyms, massage room, restaurants and two helipads and a sun deck for each cabin, regardless of its location on the ship.

It takes more than half a million dollars to run this luxury vessel, just to fill up the fuel tank.

manchester united owner yacht

A project the size of Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed's ego

According to The Sun, in the future there will only be only two mega yachts in the world that are bigger than his.

This is not the first mega-yacht the sheikh has owned. A few years ago, he owned one costing more than 3.50 billion dollars, at 150 metres long.

He even lent it to Leonardo DiCaprio to enjoy his stay in Brazil while he watched the World Cup in 2014.

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Which Man United players would get into Man City's squad?

Rob Dawson breaks down how much Manchester United will need to fix in order to be back competing for titles. (1:23)

manchester united owner yacht

New minority owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe has a three-year plan to restore Manchester United to a position of dominance over Manchester City . There's nothing wrong with ambition and bold targets, but reality sometimes gets in the way. Sunday's 3-1 derby defeat against Pep Guardiola's team showed the Everest-sized mountain United must climb to do so.

United are not even a genuine rival to City right now. Since last winning the Premier League title in 2013, United have failed to finish above their neighbours in the league and while City have won 15 major honours in that time, including the Champions League, United have mustered just four by winning two EFL Cups, an FA Cup and Europa League.

This season alone, United sit a full 18 points behind City in the league, while suffering 11 defeats to City's three. City have scored 62 goals; United have 37. Embarrassingly for Erik ten Hag's side, they also have a goal difference of -2, despite the apparent wealth of attacking talent in the Old Trafford squad.

- Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (U.S.)

Yet if you turn back the clock to 2008, when Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al Nahyan completed his takeover of City with promises to transform a club that had suffered more relegations (five) than trophies won (zero) since lifting the EFL Cup in 1976, the picture was even bleaker for City. They were dismissed as a "small club with a small mentality" by Sir Alex Ferguson and mocked as "noisy neighbours" by the United manager, who also said "not in my lifetime" when asked whether City could ever topple his club to become the top team in Manchester.

Back then, not a single City player would be deemed good enough to merit a place in United's matchday squad. The gulf was that big. But times have changed in Manchester, emphatically so, and the challenge facing Ratcliffe -- whose Ineos group has now taken charge of football operations at Old Trafford after buying a 27.7% stake in the club from majority owners, the Glazer family -- is to affect a shift in the balance of power that makes United competitive again.

The first challenge, despite the moves to appoint a new CEO (City's chief football operations officer Omar Berrada) and director of football (Newcastle sporting director Dan Ashworth), is to create a stronger team and Sunday's defeat against City illustrated the task ahead.

If none of City's players would have made it into Ferguson's United squad in 2008, how many of Ten Hag's team have the attributes to make it into the squad at the Etihad now?

The painful truth for United is that you can really only argue the case for one of their players: 18-year-old midfielder Kobbie Mainoo

He has been a rare success story at United this season, establishing himself in the team as a midfielder with composure, vision and maturity beyond his years. Guardiola loves players in the Mainoo mould and, despite the teenager's youth and inexperience, would embrace the opportunity to work with him.

But beyond Mainoo, who else could make the transition from United to City right now? Forward Marcus Rashford and midfielder Bruno Fernandes would be classed as "maybes" because they both have outstanding talent. Yet neither has been able to deliver consistently.

Rashford, having scored just six goals all season, is an enigma. His stunning opening goal against City on Sunday showcased his devastating ability, but his subsequent performance also highlighted the negative elements of his game in terms of poor pressing, decision-making and half-hearted defending.

Guardiola demands high intensity and work rate from all his players, so Rashford would infuriate him. Though the City manager would also back himself to drill that out of him and get the best out of the United forward, as he has done with so many other players throughout his career.

But while Rashford might just get into Guardiola's squad because of what he could deliver from the left flank alongside Erling Haaland or Phil Foden , Fernandes is too wasteful in possession to make the grade at City and it is difficult to envisage him being regarded as better than the options already available to Guardiola in central midfield, such as Kevin De Bruyne , Rodri , Bernardo Silva , Mateo Kovacic and Julián Álvarez .

United winger Alejandro Garnacho might catch Guardiola's eye and the City manager would be impressed by 21-year-old striker Rasmus Hojlund's tenacity and desire but, like Fernandes, neither would yet meet the criteria to get into the City squad yet.

Steve Nicol analyses Man United's performance in their 3-1 loss against Man City.

As for the rest of United's squad, they wouldn't come close to being considered good enough for City. Many aren't even good enough for United. And the same could be argued for coach Ten Hag, whose limitations have been exposed repeatedly this season, and once again by Guardiola this weekend.

Ask Guardiola about Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool side, or the players at Mikel Arteta's disposal with Arsenal , and the City manager would reach double figures in terms of players who would be good enough for his squad. But the dearth of quality means that only Mainoo would genuinely attract the attention of Guardiola at United.

Ratcliffe and his team of advisers are right to make it clear that there can be no quick fix at Old Trafford. City are ahead of United in every aspect on the pitch and, aside from global support and history, they are beating them in all areas off it too.

But until City start casting envious glances at the players in United's squad, the red half of Manchester will continue to be in a shadow cast from the blue side. It is a long way back for United and three years seems an optimistic timescale in which to turn the tide.


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