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Jim Ratcliffe Manchester United buy-in finally complete

After a process that seems almost as long as the club’s history itself, Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s purchase of a 27.7 per cent stake in Manchester United was finally officially completed last night.

The investment from Trawlers Ltd, a company wholly owned by Ratcliffe and named after the famous Eric Cantona quote, had essentially been a formality since co-owners the Glazers accepted his £1bn+ offer on Christmas Eve. The bid received Premier League and Football Association approval last week and Ratcliffe’s INEOS company will now take control of football operations at the club.

The Ineos founder, chairman and chief executive has acquired 25 per cent of the Club’s class B shares and 25 per cent of the club’s Class A shares from the Glazer family.

Further shares have been issued in return for the initial £158.5m ($200m) capital investment made by Ratcliffe upon completion of the deal. Ratcliffe will invest a further £79.2m ($100m) by December 31 and his ownership will then increase to 28.9 per cent.

Ratcliffe said: “To become co-owner of Manchester United is a great honour and comes with great responsibility.

“This marks the completion of the transaction, but just the beginning of our journey to take Manchester United back to the top of English, European and world football, with world-class facilities for our fans.

“Work to achieve those objectives will accelerate from today.”

United co-chairman Joel Glazer said: “I would like to welcome Sir Jim as co-owner and look forward to working closely with him and Ineos Sport to deliver a bright future for Manchester United.”

The completion of the deal marks the conclusion of a saga which began back in November 2022 when the Glazers announced plans for a strategic review which could include the sale of the club.

Ratcliffe and Qatari businessman Sheikh Jassim, were the frontrunners when it became apparent a full sale would be considered, but the latter withdrew last October when the Glazers appeared to go cold on the idea of a full sale of the club.

Ratcliffe’s focus shifted to the purchase of a significant minority stake, which has now finally been completed.

Ratcliffe and his team have already been getting to work behind the scenes during the seven-week process to gain final approval, with Sir Dave Brailsford, director of sport at INEOS, a regular presence around the club. One of their first moves has been to appoint Omar Berrada from rivals Manchester City as the club’s new chief executive.

INEOS are also reportedly lining up a move for Newcastle sporting director Dan Ashworth after Manchester United approached the Magpies for the 52-year-old.

Newcastle have placed Ashworth on gardening leave after he told the Tyneside club he wanted to leave on Sunday.

Ashworth is top of Ratcliffe’s list to front up his new football operation at Old Trafford, but Newcastle are believed to be expecting in excess of £10m should Man Utd want to buy out his contract so he can start work ahead of the summer transfer window.

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