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Man United suitors compete for the largest sports transaction in history.

Reuters reports from London.Sources familiar with the process say that Manchester United will get more than one offer when the first deadline for bids ends on Friday. This could be the start of the biggest sports deal ever.

One likely bidder is British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe, who started the chemicals company INEOS and has supported it his whole life. Other possible bidders include U.S. private equity firms and maybe even Qatari investors, said the sources, who asked not to be named.


Elon Musk, who owns Twitter and runs Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA), is not expected to lead any of the offers for the English soccer club, as some media reports had said.

When asked for their thoughts, Manchester United, INEOS, Tesla, and Musk did not respond.

Sources say that bidders have been asked to send in a bid amount and proof of funds by Friday. The investment bank Raine Group, which is running the process, will then make a shortlist.

Raine Group didn’t answer when asked to comment.

A deal for Manchester United, which has won the English Premier League a record 13 times, is likely to be bigger than the $5.2 billion (including debt and investments) paid for Chelsea. This is because Manchester United makes more money and has more fans than its London rival.


Market research company Kantar says that the northwest England club has 659 million fans around the world. That’s almost a tenth of the world’s population.

Sources say that the Glazer family, which owns most of it now, wants it to be worth as much as 7 billion pounds.

“Potential buyers see football clubs like Manchester United as trophy assets because they seem to be the only ones around. It’s kind of like defending the price you paid for a painting “Andy Currie, a managing partner at the financial services company Alantra in the UK, said this.

Qatari state investors already have a stake in the French soccer team Paris Saint-Germain, and it could be hard for them to take over Manchester United because the rules of UEFA say that two clubs with the same owner can’t play in the lucrative European Champions League at the same time.

Jahm Najafi, an Iranian-American billionaire, is going to make an offer of $3.75 billion to buy Tottenham Hotspur, a source close to the situation told Reuters. Joe Lewis, who is a billionaire and lives in the Bahamas, is said to be holding out for a higher price. The size of that offer has led to rumours that Manchester United will get a lot more.


Deloitte found that Manchester United is the fourth richest soccer club in the world. Tottenham is ninth because it has never won the Premier League.

The New York Stock Exchange lists a small number of Manchester United shares. On Thursday, the value of the stock market went over $4 billion.

In 2005, the Glazers bought United for 790 million pounds ($947 million) in a deal with a lot of debt. Critics, including many fans, say the club now has too much debt.

The club has said that it expects to make up to 610 million pounds in sales during its fiscal year 2023 and up to 140 million pounds in adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA).


“Some of my clients buy art because they think it will go up in value over time. However, paying tens of millions of dollars for art can’t be explained by its profit and loss. It’s more about the brand and how people feel about it, “Currie said.

Experts say that the interest in Premier League clubs is growing. This is due in part to the skyrocketing profits from global media rights, the possibility of redeveloping stadiums and selling naming rights, and the chances for global sponsorship deals.

Andrea Guerzoni, global vice chair of strategy and transactions at the consulting firm EY, said, “If you look at football, there are real opportunities in Europe and the U.S. to get a much higher level of return through broadcasting.”

Along with the strength of Manchester United’s global brand, the chance to improve Old Trafford and bring in more money at games are also big draws.

Alex Dixon, a partner at the law firm Travers Smith, said, “The increasing commercialization and globalisation of the sector means that, even though UK club revenues seem to be close to their peak, the top clubs can really sell to people all over the world.”

In the long term, investors are also interested in the idea of bringing back plans for a European Super League, in which the biggest clubs in the area could play without the threat of relegation.

According to LSEG Deals Intelligence, the amount of money invested in the sports industry around the world reached $14 billion in 2022. This was 4.2 times the amount invested the year before and almost seven times the average of the last 10 years.

Paul Harris, who is the head of TMT advisory at KPMG, said, “Big teams will bring in buyers.” “Seven or eight private equity (PE) firms, both sports-focused and generalists, have recently raised money to invest in sports.”

Ratcliffe said last month that he wanted to buy Manchester United. One of the sources close to the talks said that Ratcliffe is talking to Middle Eastern and U.S. investors to help fund his bid.

Ratcliffe has gotten into sports through INEOS. He has invested in Formula 1, cycling, sailing, and soccer, and he has bought the French Ligue 1 soccer team Nice.

The process is being guided by JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM), sources said. The U.S. bank is also getting more involved in soccer. It recently offered Italy’s top league up to 1 billion euros in loans.

JP Morgan didn’t want to say anything.

($1 is worth 0.834 pounds)



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