UK billionaire Jim Ratcliffe Buys Stake in Manchester United


INEOS Chief Executive Jim Ratcliffe has become a minority shareholder in three times European and 20 English Premier League champions Manchester United, buying a 25 percent stake at a price of $33 per share, says the Premier League club.

Ratcliffe, the chairman of the petrochemicals giant, and United entered an agreement on Sunday under which he will acquire 25 percent of the Class B shares held by the owners, the Glazer family, and up to 25 percent of the Class A shares.

Ratcliffe will also provide $300m for future investment into the club’s Old Trafford stadium.

“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,” said a club statement.

Qatar’s Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani was also looking to buy the club but dropped out of the bidding process, saying he would not be raising his $6bn offer, leaving the British billionaire to strike a deal with the Glazer family.

Ratcliffe, 71, said he wanted to see the struggling United “back where we belong, at the very top of English, European and world football”.

He said he wanted to see the struggling 20-time English champions back on top of European football and committed himself for the long term.

The Glazers have come under heavy criticism from fans for presiding over a decline in the club’s performance since former manager Alex Ferguson retired in 2013 following a period of unprecedented success.

“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,” he said. “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.

“We will bring the global knowledge, expertise and talent from the wider INEOS Sport group to help drive further improvement at the club.”

Sunday’s agreement ends more than 12 months of speculation over the ownership situation and heralds a new era at a club that has fallen well behind cross-town rivals Manchester City.

It remains to be seen how Ratcliffe, a self-made billionaire, will manage the club alongside Joel and Avram Glazer, who inherited the team from their father Malcolm, who made a fortune from a range of investments including real estate and broadcasting.

The victory also cements Ratcliffe’s plans to build out a personal sporting empire after failing in a late attempt to buy Chelsea FC last year.

Via his chemical giant Ineos, Ratcliffe also owns France’s Ligue 1 OGC Nice, the cycling group formerly known as Team Sky, and a stake in the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One team, Swiss Super League side FC Lausanne-Sport, and works with Racing Club Abidjan of Ivory Coast Ligue One.

Ineos is also behind the Grenadiers, one of the world’s most successful cycling teams.

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