Qatari royal and banker Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani has withdrawn his offer to buy the Manchester United soccer club, according to reports.
Sheikh Jassim, chairman of Qatar Islamic Bank and the son of a former Qatari prime minister, had bid 5 billion pound sterling ($6 billion) for the British soccer club but further talks last week have broken down, the BBC reported Sunday.
The Qatari royal was understood to offer all cash and to repay all of the club’s old debt. The deal would have also included more than 1.4 billion pounds ($1.7 billion) in financing a new stadium, a new training center and for local community regeneration projects.
Jim Ratcliffe, one of Britain’s richest men and CEO of petrochemical company INEOS, has also put in an offer to acquire some of the club. But unlike Sheikh Jassim’s offer, which was a total buyout of the team, it is only for a minority stake in the club.
Sources told the BBC that Ratcliffe’s offer is thought to be for a 25% stake in the club.
The Glazers are understood to want an offer of at least 6 billion pounds ($7.3 billion).
Last November, the American Glazer family, United’s current owners, said that they were looking at “strategic alternatives” for the club, which could include selling it to a new proprietor. Although the sale attracted a lot of interest, there were only two offers that were seriously considered by the Glazers.
The Glazers have fallen out of favor with many United fans for what they say is saddling the club with debt and not spending much money on new players and maintaining the team’s Old Trafford home stadium.
“MUFC is in desperate need of new investment and new majority ownership. We hope this news accelerates that process rather than delays it,” the Manchester United Supporters Trust said in a statement. “Based on the last 11 months, no one can be quite sure. The Glazers need to make their position clear.”
Shares in the soccer club fell at the news from $19.98 at the end of Friday to $16.52 as of Monday morning British Summer Time. The team has a market cap of $3.26 billion.
The club has not had an auspicious start to the season either, having lost four of their opening eight matches and sitting 10th in the English Premier League. The Red Devils were also defeated in the first two Champions League games.
Source : Al-Monitor