Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s INEOS has entered the race to buy Manchester United.
The 70-year-old, one of Britain’s richest men, is a boyhood United fan. Those interested in buying United have to register their interest with Raine Group, the bank handling the sale of the club for the Glazer Family.
“We have formally put ourselves into the process,” a spokesman for Ratcliffe confirmed to The Times. The Athletic has contacted Raine to confirm INEOS’s interest.
Signing up will allow interested parties to undertake due diligence on the club. Bids would then come in from next month, and United could be sold by the end of the current season.
The Glazers announced in November that they were looking into “new investment into the club, a sale, or other transactions involving the company”, potentially bringing an end to their 18 years as owners.
Ratcliffe expressed his interest in Chelsea last year but the club was sold to Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital.
He also claimed in October that he would have attempted to buy United had the club been up for sale in the summer.
Speaking to the Financial Times, he said: “I’m a lifelong Manchester United fan. I was there in that most remarkable match in 1999 in Barcelona. That is deeply etched in my mind.
“Manchester United is owned by the Glazer family. I have met Joel and Avram. They are the nicest people, I have to say, proper gentlemen.
“They don’t want to sell it (the club). It’s owned by the six children of the father. If it had been for sale in the summer, yes we would probably have had a go following on from the Chelsea thing. But we can’t sit around hoping one day Manchester United will become available.”
United are on an upward swing in the Premier League. They beat Manchester City on Saturday and sit fourth in the Premier League.
INEOS already owns French side Nice, FC Lausanne in Switzerland and Racing Club Abidjan of the Ivory Coast. They also own the INEOS Grenadiers cycling team and have a stake in the Mercedes F1 team.
INEOS recently appointed former Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain executive Jean Claude Blanc as the CEO of its sports business.
What kind of Manchester United owner would Sir Jim Ratcliffe make?
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