Who is the owner of manchester united ? Purchased by the family in 2005 for £790 million, the football club has faced a challenging few years at the hands of the late Malcolm Glazer and his children.
United is currently owned by Malcom’s six children; however, the family’s management of the club has long been criticised for loading debt onto the club.
This week, however, the United board is set to vote this week after British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe tabled a bid of £ 1.3 billion for a 25 per cent stake.
The offer came after Qatari banker Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani pulled out from buying the club.
The news also comes as the club posted record Premier League figures of £648.4m for the year ending June 30.
Ratcliffe’s offer could mark the end of the Glazer family reign at the club; a time that’s been overshadowed by controversy over their handling of United.
Last month, shares in Manchester United fell to their lowest point since November, following a report that the Glazer family could remain owners of the club. The claims were rubbished by sports stars such as Gary Neville, who maintained the sale would go through.
Despite recent on-pitch troubles at Old Trafford (the club had not won a trophy for six years until their Carabao Cup success in February 2023), the Red Devils still rank among the most popular and marketable football teams in the world. They have won the English top-flight title a record 20 times and the European Cup three times, among a host of other trophies.
Who are the Glazer family?
Malcolm Glazer was a businessman and owner of a sports franchise in America, who died in 2014.
Born in New York, he started out at his father’s watch-parts company aged eight. When he was 15, his father died and he sold watches door-to-door to support his family.
In his later years, Glazer was the owner of United and the National Football League’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was also the president and chief executive of First Allied Corporation, a holding company for his multiple business endeavours.
They sold 10 per cent of their holding via the 2012 US listing and have sold more shares since but retain majority ownership. United’s valuation as a public company peaked at $4.3bn (£3.4bn) in 2018. They were worth $2.5bn (£2.1bn) at the close of US trading recently.
What does the Glazer family own?
Glazer’s six children – Avram, Bryan, Darcie, Edward, Joel, and Kevin – own United after he acquired the bulk of the club’s shares through the investment firm Red Football Ltd in 2005.
The six Glazer children each received an equal share of their father’s 90 per cent controlling stake after he died of a protracted illness.
Since their late father’s stroke in April 2006, Joel and Avram have been in charge of overseeing the day-to-day operations of the club. They are co-chairmen and Bryan, Darcie, Edward, and Kevin serve as directors.
Why does the family want to sell Manchester United?
The Glazers are selling United because of debt. The club was debt-free when the Glazers took ownership in 2005. However, the purchase agreement recommended by former executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward is said to have added more than £500 million in debt to the company.
To the dismay of fans, Malcolm Glazer used a leveraged buyout scheme to finance a large portion of the takeover rather than using his own funds.
This entails borrowing funds against a future asset to purchase that item; in this example, interest payments total more than £60 million annually.
It has been widely claimed that the buyout has cost the club more than £1 billion in interest and other expenses over the years.
Due to the Covid-19 epidemic, the club’s debt had increased by 133 per cent to £474 million by the end of 2020.
Since 2015, the club has paid an annual dividend, most of which goes to the Glazers, and the company’s tax registration was transferred from Old Trafford to the Cayman Islands in 2012.
The club’s 2018–19 financial statements included dividends totalling £23 million. The six Glazer siblings apparently shared about £18 million of this.
Club income has more than doubled since 2005 and United was ranked the third-most-valuable football club in the world by Forbes last May. This was largely due to the significant and diversified commercial partnerships inked under the Glazers.
The club was fourth in the 2023 Deloitte Football Money League, an annual profile of the highest revenue-generating clubs in world football, behind Liverpool, Real Madrid and Manchester City.
Despite a tumultuous few years, the latest postings revealed record revenue for United, beating their previous record which was set in 2019.
Who is buying Manchester United? Sheikh Jassim ‘withdraws bid’ to Glazers as Jim Ratcliffe closes on minority stake
British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe looks set to emerge with a victory of sorts in the Manchester United takeover saga.
Indeed, it is beginning to look more likely that the Glazer era will not be coming to an end.
Widespread reports on October 14 said Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani had withdrawn from the bidding process.
Transfer news expert Fabrizio Romano claimed that the final bid had been worth almost double the $3.5 billion market valuation of the club, and said the Sheikh had planned an extra $1.5bn of investment. Sky News was among the outlets to announce that they also understood the offer had been withdrawn.
Joel and Avram, the most hands-on of the owning family, are confident of securing the investment they want in order to boost capital and stay in charge at Old Trafford, according to ESPN.
In the aftermath of Sheikh Jassim’s withdrawal, Mail Online reported that Ratcliffe was close to finalising a 25% stake in United for $1.57bn. This would secure control of United’s footballing operations for Ratcliffe’s group and be viewed as the first part of a staged buyout.
Back in November 2022, it emerged the Glazer family were willing to end their controversial 18-year ownership of the club, much to the excitement of United fans, many of whom have shown their opposition to the owners for a number of years.
The Americans took control of the Red Devils courtesy of a highly contentious leveraged buyout in 2005.
Debt created by that deal and a subsequent decline in the club’s fortunes on the pitch have led to several fan protests in recent years.
But a statement from brothers Avram and Joel Glazer — who are are co-chairmen of the club —revealed their ‘strategic alternatives’ for United with the Glazers thought to be looking for a price in excess of £5bn.
What the Glazers said about selling Manchester United
“The process is designed to enhance the club’s future growth, with the ultimate goal of positioning the club to capitalize on opportunities both on the pitch and commercially,” the club statement released on November 23 read.
“As part of this process, the board will consider all strategic alternatives, including new investment into the club, a sale, or other transactions involving the company.
“This will include an assessment of several initiatives to strengthen the club, including stadium and infrastructure redevelopment, and expansion of the club’s commercial operations on a global scale, each in the context of enhancing the long-term success of the club’s men’s, women’s and academy teams, and bringing benefits to fans and other stakeholders.
“There can be no assurance that the review being undertaken will result in any transaction involving the company. Manchester United does not intend to make further announcements regarding the review unless and until the board has approved a specific transaction or other course of action requiring a formal announcement.”
This doesn’t necessarily mean a sale; it could be that the Glazers retain their majority stake in the club and simply look for other investors to join. Indeed, that is beginning to look the more likely scenario.
However, the situation could eventually be forced on the Glazers, with the latest financial results from Old Trafford showing an ongoing pattern of decline.
United’s overall debt rose to £535.7m/$662.5m, based on financial figures for the end of 2022, in an increase of £58.6m/$72.4m from the previous year, with club-wide revenues down by 10%.
There were some improvements in commercial revenue, in comparison to the previous 12 months, but the wider picture is a concern.
Why might Manchester United be sold?
Chelsea’s recent lucrative sale has no doubt given owners of other Premier League clubs a good idea of how much they might stand to earn by moving on.
Todd Boehly’s takeover of the west London side came at a cost of £4.2bn, with £2.5bn accounting for the value of the club and a further £1.7bn pledged for investment.
It is surely no coincidence that, just a matter of months on from that deal being struck, Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group signalled their intention to sell up after 12 years at the helm earlier this month.
Newcastle United also, of course, recently changed hands and came under Saudi Arabian ownership, though their £305m valuation is a huge distance short of the figure Manchester United are attracting.
How much is Manchester United worth?
It was recently reported by The Independent that the Glazers could look to sell all of their shares for around $6 billion (£4.9bn).
That would far outstrip the figure paid for Chelsea, perhaps accurately reflecting Manchester United’s status as England’s most prestigious football club.
It is also likely to price out a number of potential bidders, including many of those involved in the battle to take over at Chelsea over the summer.
Manchester United’s next owners after Glazers
British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe is from Oldham, a Manchester United supporter and already owns two football clubs in the form of OGC Nice and Lausanne-Sport, as well as Formula 1 team Mercedes, through his company Ineos.
Ratcliffe’s strongest competition comes from Qatar, with Sheikh Jassim launching a bid that includes a promise of significant investment in the club and the surrounding area.
There was also interest from Finnish businessman Thomas Zilliacus, who said he wants to buy 100% of the club and sell some controlling shares back to the fans, but his interest appears to have ended.
However, it is possible that the Glazers will look to sell only a minority stake and not sanction a full takeover. That would explain recent reported interest from US investment giant Carlyle.
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