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Qatar’s Sheikh Jassim issues final ultimatum over Manchester United sale

Both Manchester football clubs were clients of Skylab

Qatari banker Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani has reportedly made a fifth and final bid to buy Manchester United.

The bid is said to be for 100 per cent of the club, will clear United’s debt, and has a separate fund for the club and local community.

In a new twist to the ongoing saga, however, sources close to Sheikh Jassim have claimed he is growing tired of the protracted process of selling United, and that this is his final bid. He has reportedly given the club until this Friday to respond, after which he will no longer engage with the process.

It is not currently clear whether Sheikh Jassim would walk away from the deal following the Friday deadline, or simply disengage from negotiation with his bid on the table.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s Ineos Group is the other main party trying to buy the Premier League club, which was named the fourth most valuable brand in world football in yesterday’s 2023 Brand Finance Football 50 Report, with a brand value of £1.4bn. 

Figures in March showed United owed £969.6m through a combination of gross debt, bank borrowings and outstanding transfer fees with associated payments.

Current owners the Glazer family announced in November they were considering selling Manchester United as they “explore strategic alternatives,” which included both an outright sale or seeking new investment while retaining a stake in the club.

There has so far been no response from the Glazer family since the last, extended, bid deadline passed on April 28, although there had been signs of increasing confidence in the Ineos camp that their efforts to buy United would be successful.

Ratcliffe had offered to lower the percentage of United he wanted to buy, from an initial 69 per cent for the entire Glazer stake to just over 50 per cent, which would allow co-chairmen Joel and Avram Glazer to retain some involvement.

There has so far been no indication from the Glazer family of when they may make a decision over the future of the club.

The family bought the club for £790m in 2005 and have valued it at between £5bn and £6bn at current prices, a figure which both remaining bidding parties are believed to find at the high end of the scale.

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