Monday 13 February 2023

Man Utd takeover: Qatari investors planning mega-money bid - Sources


Qatari investors are set to make an offer for Manchester United Plc in the coming days, people familiar with matter said, in a move that would cement the country’s desire to become a major player in global sports.

The Qatari consortium is preparing to submit an initial bid for the English Premier League football club by the end of the week, the people said. Officials at sovereign wealth fund the Qatar Investment Authority are helping with preparations for a bid alongside local family offices, one of the people said, asking not to be identified discussing confidential information.

New York bank Raine Group is advising Manchester United’s owners, the US-based Glazer family. 

Manchester United has been the subject of increasing takeover speculation since the summer, when Bloomberg News reported the Glazer family was open to selling a stake. So far, only British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe has officially declared his interest and is working with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. on a potential offer.

Bloomberg News reported in January that state-backed Qatari investors were weighing an investment in Manchester United.

Qatar Sports Investments, a separate entity to QIA, already owns French super-club Paris Saint-Germain FC. Regulations from European football’s governing body, UEFA, state that teams with the same majority owner can’t both compete in the region’s major tournaments, including the showpiece Champions League. QSI chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi is also a member of the UEFA Executive Committee that adopts its regulations.

Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the ruling emir of Qatar, is a Manchester United fan and unlikely to want to let slip the chance to own what is widely regarded as one of the world’s biggest sports brands.

Deliberations are ongoing and no final decisions have been taken about which Qatari entities will ultimately provide capital for the Manchester United bid, the people said. A spokesperson for QIA declined to comment, while a representative for QSI wasn’t immediately available for comment.

Adam Sommerfeld, a sport investment specialist at Certus Capital, has estimated that any offer for Manchester United would need to exceed £4 billion ($4.8 billion) to be successful. That would make it one of the largest ever deals involving a sporting franchise.

Qatar spent more than $200 billion during the past decade redeveloping the country’s infrastructure to host the FIFA World Cup. Alongside building new stadiums and entire municipalities, it also bought sports assets. As well as the takeover of PSG, QSI has a stake Portuguese football club SC Braga.


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