Glazers considering Manchester United sale, $6 billion touted as potential price
- The Glazers might relinquish control over Manchester United
- With three consortiums interested in an outright purchase, a sale looks possible
- The club has been valued at $6 billion
Manchester United's on-field struggles have not deterred suitors from purchasing the club. Their hugely unpopular American owners had hitherto refused a sale but are increasingly leaning towards it. The impetus- market experts suggest- comes from Todd Boehly's staggering $3.2 billion purchase of rivals Chelsea. Expectations were that the London club would go for half the sum, but the deal was an eye-opener into the vagaries of the football market. As per reports, three consortiums are in the fray, with a ballpark figure of $6 billion doing the rounds.
Ineos owner Sir James Ratcliffe- who already owns French club OGC Nice- seems the most likely candidate, having vocalized his intentions earlier. The Ratcliffe family had also submitted a late bid for Chelsea, but it came to nought. Further leaked emails detailing Islamophobic sentiments scuppered their pursuit of Chelsea. But it doesn't seem to impede in this case. Even if the Ratcliffe's fall through, former board member Michael Knighton (and gang) has hinted at a hostile takeover. In 1989, Knighton bid unsuccessfully for the club. He returns 33 years later to unseat the Glazers from their Old Trafford top seat. Such is the clamour for new owners, United fans were in a state of frenzy after Elon Musk jokingly tweeted his wish to buy the club.
Under their ownership, the club has become a hothouse for dissent, with supporters vehemently opposed to the Florida-based family's takeover from the get-go. In 2005, swathes of United fans walked out on their support, forming a new club, FC United of Manchester. The breakaway faction argued that the Glazers had traded the Red Devils' ethos for debt and corporate greed. If Ferguson's expert management had kept their voices to the background, the years since his departure has offered little on-field success to distract from the boardroom mess. After a dismal start to the 2022/23 season, United fans will stage a protest ahead of Liverpool's visit on Tuesday.
For the Glazers, this marks a brilliant opportunity to wash their hands off the club. Touted the "deal of the century", the valuation comes as a surprise given United's finances. With over £500 million in debts- £222.8 million of which is under variable interest rates, indicating a possible surge in value- coupled with a drop in share prices, supporter and sponsor unrest, $6 billion is a staggering sum to pay for the club. The final decision, of course, rests on The Glazers, but even if they agreed to a sale, it would take a year to two years to complete the due diligence process before the sale.