Will the Qataris take over Manchester United? The answer was still not known overnight from Wednesday March 22 to Thursday March 23. The president of the Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB), Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani, like the British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe, on Wednesday submitted their second offer for the takeover of the English club. But according to the Sky Sports television channel, the deadline for finalizing the proposals, set at 9 p.m. local time (10 p.m. in France), has been pushed back by investment bank Raine.
"We can confirm that our offer has been submitted," a source close to Sheikh Jassim told Agence France-Presse, without giving details. “Sheikh Jassim remains fully committed and confident in his offer. We believe this is the best deal for the club, the supporters and the local community."
The English press also reports that Mr. Ratcliffe, owner of the petrochemical group Ineos and several football clubs, including OGC Nice in France, also participated in this second round of bidding.
The first call for tenders, in mid-February, turned out to be a little disappointing for the owners, the Glazer family, who were hoping for nearly 7 billion euros, while the first valuations were closer to 5 billion.
Bids reaching around £5 billion
Also according to the English media, the offers this time reached or slightly exceeded 5 billion pounds (5.7 billion euros), after the main candidates came to visit the club's facilities and meet with its management at the end of the week. last.
This sum constitutes a world record for a collective sports club but remains below what the American owners are hoping for and the uncertainty about the rest of the process therefore remains. "The next steps will depend on the seller, we do not expect an immediate response," the source familiar with the matter told Agence France-Presse.
In addition to the two main candidates identified, other non-public offers were expected, with the Sky Sports television channel even mentioning between five and eight offers in total. Some investment funds, like Elliott Investment Management, former owner of AC Milan, have positioned themselves to help finance all or part of a sale that is anything but certain.
The Glazers, at least Joel and Avram, the co-presidents of the Red Devils, have never ruled out the possibility of staying in place, despite their very high unpopularity.
What about PSG in the event of Manchester being taken over by the QIB?
Whether with the football clubs of Nice and Lausanne in the Swiss championship, or with his cycling team Ineos Grenadiers, Mr. Ratcliffe has a reputation as a shrewd investor. He only wants to take over the share held by the Glazer family in the club, i.e. 69%, while his Qatari rival is aiming for a 100% acquisition.
QIB is one of the largest banks in Qatar. Its majority shareholder is the sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority, owner of Qatar Sports Investments (QSI), which controls Paris Saint-Germain. One of the challenges for them will be to prove that the two clubs are not controlled by the same entity, which would prevent them from competing simultaneously in European competitions, according to UEFA rules.