Sky Sports News chief reporter Kaveh Solhekol explains what INEOS chair Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s acquisition of 25 per cent of Manchester United could mean for the club moving forward…
How is it going to work?
We have finally got there, but where have we got to? It is a step into the unknown, because we have got a situation where somebody is buying 25 per cent of a football club, but he is getting control of football operations, and the Glazer family is giving away 25 per cent of football operations, which in my mind is an admission of failure. They are basically saying, since Sir Alex Ferguson left we haven’t done the business on the pitch, we’ve tried everything, we’ve backed managers, we have given them money – it hasn’t worked out. Now these new people have come along, they are only going to own 25 per cent of the club, but we are going to give them control of football. In a way it suits the Glazers as well, because they can take a step back and they are hoping, if things go wrong on the pitch, they are not the ones that are going to be blamed, it is going to be Ratcliffe and INEOS who are going to be blamed.
But already speaking to people about this deal over the last couple of days, they are saying to me how is this going to work? You have just got an extra voice in the room now. So when it comes to signing players, for instance, or firing managers, you have just got an extra layer, an extra owner who is going to be in the mix when it comes to making these decisions.
We are being told that Ratcliffe and INEOS are going to control football operations but at the end of the day they only own 25 per cent of the club. Is that really going to be the case going forward if things go wrong?
Has the deal been fully rubber-stamped?
It is quite complicated, they are buying 25 per cent of the Class B shares owned by the Glazer family. Now these are super-voting shares, so although the Glazers only own 69 per cent of Manchester United, their shares come with voting rights, which means, effectively, they own 97 per cent of the club. They can make all the big decisions. Ratcliffe and INEOS have bought 25 per cent of those shares, and they have also offered to buy 25 per cent of the Class A shares – they are the ones that are listed and traded on the New York Stock Exchange. They are offering $33 a share, which is around £26, the same that they are offering to the Glazers as well, and the Board is recommending the shareholders on the New York Stock Exchange accept that offer of $33 a share, because that is far more than they have been trading at. I think it’s going to happen, it’s going to take a while because it is going to have to go through the regulatory process at the New York Stock Exchange. It Is also going to have to go through a regulatory process at the Premier League which is going to take six to eight weeks.
Timeline of Man Utd takeover process
- November 22, 2022: The Glazers confirm they are open to a sale but say other options “including new investment” will be considered.
How much is Sir Jim Ratcliffe actually worth?