MANCHESTER – The proposed sale of Manchester United gathered pace Thursday when British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe said he had submitted a second bid for the iconic soccer team.
American merchant bank Raine had given bidders more time to fine-tune proposals by extending Wednesday night's deadline for the latest round of offers for the Premier League club.
“Sir Jim Ratcliffe and INEOS can confirm we have submitted a revised bid,” INEOS said Thursday.
Ratcliffe is one of the richest people in Britain and has been a United fan since childhood.
Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani is also set to submit a fresh offer and appears to be the main rival to Ratcliffe in the battle to take charge of the 20-time English league champions.
Current owners the Glazer family announced in November that they were exploring “strategic alternatives,” which included the possibility of a full sale of the club they have owned since 2005.
Raine is handling the potential sale after brokering the deal that saw Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital buy Chelsea for about $3 billion last year.
United is expected to become the most expensive sports team in history, with the price expected to be as high as $6 billion.
The Denver Broncos were sold last year to Walmart heir Rob Walton and his daughter and son-in-law for a record $4.65 billion.
Sheikh Jassim is the chairman of Qatar Islamic Bank and the son of a former prime minister.
He plans to buy 100% of the club, while Ratcliffe's bid is for the Glazers' share of around 69%.
It also emerged on Thursday that American investment firm Elliott Management bid for a minority stake.
A person with knowledge of the process confirmed the bid. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment publicly.
Elliott, which formerly owned Italian club AC Milan, is also prepared to offer capital or finance to other bidders.
Finnish entrepreneur Thomas Zilliacus has also declared his interest in United. He said he plans to fund 50% of the purchase and ask fans to provide the rest of the money in a shared ownership scheme.
James Robson is at https://twitter.com/jamesalanrobson