Wednesday , May 31 2023

Manchester United Asks Bidders for Sources of Wealth Ahead of Deadline

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(Bloomberg) — Manchester United Plc has asked bidders to clarify the source of their wealth and who would become the club’s ultimate beneficial owner ahead of a looming third deadline for offers.

The questions were sent by Raine Group, the US bankers employed by the current owners, the Glazer family, to oversee the potential sale of the club. The demands were made in recent days, according to people familiar with the discussions. They range from queries about the source of their money to debts that will be secured against the club and future financial models.

The development will put the spotlight on the two main contenders to purchase the historic club: Qatari royal Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani and the Ineos boss, British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe. Jassim’s bid is made through a new entity called the Nine Two Foundation set up specifically to bid for the club.

The questions appear to be an attempt by the current Manchester United hierarchy to ensure any new owner complies with ethics tests recently proposed by the UK government. Ministers have announced plans for a new football regulator that would require owners of Premier League clubs to declare where their money comes from and their ability to manage debt, although the rules have not yet come into force.

A government official welcomed the efforts to adhere to future regulations on football governance. Spokespeople for Manchester United and Sheikh Jassim declined to comment.

Ratcliffe’s camp also declined to comment on media reports that his consortium has decided to offer the Glazers the option to stay on as shareholders. It cited the signing of non-disclosure agreements.

The development comes ahead of Friday’s latest deadline for bids after both the main bidders missed a previous one and had to fight for extensions. Meanwhile, the clock is ticking toward the summer player trading window, a critical time for clubs to refresh their squads.

Manchester United currently lies fourth in the Premier League, meaning it would qualify for Europe’s elite Champions League competition next season. The team is level on points with third-placed Newcastle United, which is backed by Saudi money, though trails title favorite and current champion Manchester City by 14 points after it beat top placed Arsenal on Wednesday evening.

About Charles Igbinidu

Charles Igbinidu is a Public Relations practitioner in Lagos, Nigeria

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