The Glazers are going to take Manchester United off the market, having failed to get close to their anticipated asking price, according to a source with long-standing close ties to the American family.
The move is certain to provoke fury among United fans, who have never felt much warmth towards the club’s owners, and blame them for a lack of recent success and investment in infrastructure.
‘The Glazers are thick-skinned and won’t be influenced by any negative fan reactions,’ said the source, adding the family’s original plan was to attract multiple serious bidders, and that didn’t materialise.
The family made it known last November that they were open to offers for either 100 per cent of the club, or a partial sale that left them with a sizeable stake. Only two serious bidders emerged, Sheik Jassim of Qatar, who wants the whole club, and Sir Jim Ratcliffe, whose offer would leave the Glazers with a minority interest.
Sources close to those parties have been left frustrated as to the Glazers’ stance, making multiple rounds of offers and being given no indication of where they stood.
The Glazers will take Manchester United off the market after failing to receive a bid matching their valuation
Sir Jim Ratcliffe is one of only two bidders to emerge as a serious contender for the club
Fans have protested against their unpopular owners regularly and the move is sure to provoke fury
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At one point Sheik Jassim’s camp bypassed US merchant bankers Raine, who have been in charge of the sales process, to deal directly with the Glazers. And even amid recent rumours suggesting the Qatari bid was about to be accepted, the situation hasn’t moved on.
The logic for taking United off the market now, says the source, is that the Glazer family will try to sell the club again in 2025, when they hope financial and ‘environmental’ factors may attract more bidders.
The Glazers hope for a higher price thanks to an uplift in TV rights revenues, the expansion of FIFA’s Club World Cup to 32 teams from 2025, which could be very lucrative, and the forthcoming 2026 World Cup. That event, to be hosted in the USA, will heighten the interest of American billionaires in football investments. The Glazers think this may help them sell United for between £7billion and £10bn.
A sit-in protest by United fans was held at Old Trafford last week and urged the family to sell up, yet again, but the Glazers have long ignored supporters.
The owners have backed manager Erik ten Hag and hope he can deliver major silverware to the club over the next two seasons, which would help boost the sale price.
Sheikh Jassim was the other serious bidder to emerge, though his camp at one point bypassed US merchant bankers Raine, who have been in charge of the sale process
A sit-in protest by United fans was held at Old Trafford last week and urged the family to sell up