Manchester United takeover twist as Sheikh Jassim ‘exclusivity’ claim made

The attempt to purchase Manchester United has changed course, according to rumors that Sheikh Jassim would be given exclusive bargaining rights before Sir Jim Ratcliffe.

Following allegations that Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani has been given exclusivity in the buyout negotiations, the takeover story surrounding Manchester United is still cloaked in mystery.

The club’s current owners, the Glazers, first declared their intention to “explore strategic alternatives for the club” in November. There was a seven-month pause before they made a second announcement.There have been five rounds of bids, with numerous US banking institutions, Shiekh Jassim, and British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe competing to buy the Old Trafford team.

The Glazers and Raine Group, which is negotiating the sale, has until Friday, June 8, according to the Qatari banker, after which his Nine Two Foundation announced they will no longer actively participate in conversations since they believe they have had enough time to seek clarifications and revisions to their offer.

Sheikh Jassim may be about to become the new manager of United, according to a report from the Reuters news agency. However, many other media sites have universally rejected those reports.

Reuters reports being told by people familiar with the matter that the Glazers are set to cash out and sell 100 per cent of the club to Sheikh Jassim in a deal claimed to be worth £4.7bn ($6bn). It adds United would not be allowed to negotiate with any other bidder during the exclusivity period, although it is not clear how long this might last.

The report states: “The sources cautioned that the situation remained fluid and a new bid from Ratcliffe could prevent Sheikh Jassim from securing exclusivity.”

But the BBC’s football reporter Simon Stone, along with several other Manchester United correspondents, moved to quash the report. Stone tweeted: “Re Man United ownership. No exclusivity granted. Told talks continue with multiple parties.”

The Press Association (PA) reports that the Sheikh’s team have indicated nothing has changed from earlier in the week.

Trading in Manchester United shares on the New York Stock Exchange was temporarily paused following the Reuters report due to “volatility”, though shares resumed trading shortly afterwards, and were up 12 per cent on the day.

It comes a matter of hours after Sheikh Jassim’s Nine Two Holdings Limited was officially listed as a company in the UK. British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe, who also owns French Ligue 1 outfit OGC Nice, had been considered the other frontrunner although his offer is to take a controlling interest that would allow Joel and Avram Glazer to temporarily retain a 20 per cent stake in United.

However, Ratcliffe’s offer includes a clause to see the family leave the club entirely on a phased basis.

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