SHEIKH Jassim pulled OUT of the race to own Manchester United on Saturday night — after accusing the Glazers of demanding an “outlandish” price to sell the club.
After nearly nine months of detailed negotiations, the Qatari banker has withdrawn his £5bn bid and told the Glazers he is no longer interested in any deal.
And that leaves Sir Jim Ratcliffe, understood to now be proposing to purchase just a 25 percent share of the Old Trafford club, as the only option left on the table.
Sheikh Jassim had been the front-runner for much of 2023 after the Glazers announced in November that they were open to a sale.
He continued to be interested even though frustrations grew over the conduct of the Glazers and their bankers, the US-based Raine Group.
The Qatari has only ever wanted to buy the club outright from the Glazers, who have been in charge of United since the siblings’ late father Malcolm took it over in a £790m deal in 2005.
Sheikh Jassim saw no fewer than five bids rejected over the course of the year.
And it has now emerged that a SIXTH offer after what were said to be “further and final discussions and negotiations” was rejected in the past few days.
That was the final straw for Sheikh Jassim, who is believed to have told the Glazers and raine that their £6bn-plus valuation of a club with a New York Stock Exchange capitalisation of £2.7bn that they were asking for a “fanciful and outlandish” price.
Sheikh Jassim maintains his belief that he would have been a “dream owner”.
The Qatari feels his cash bid would have cleared all the club’s existing debt and allowed him to spend an additional £1.4bn on transfers, rebuilding both Old Trafford and the club’s Carrington training ground and community projects.
But after hitting more intransigence from the Glazers he made it clear that he was walking away from any potential deal and would NOT be back in the frame, seemingly closing the door for good.
Sources close to the Sheikh’s bid team declined to make any official comment, citing confidentiality restrictions, but have confirmed they have withdrawn from the process.
And that leaves the Glazers having to make a decision now on whether to accept the minority share bid by Sir Jim and his Ineos petrochemicals group or to take the club back OFF the market.
Whatever decision the Glazers now make, the withdrawal of the Qatari bid is only likely to stoke further the anger of United fans who have been stepping up their calls for the Americans to depart.
Sir Jim’s current offer for a quarter share of the club is understood to value United slightly above Sheikh Jassim’s price — although the Qatari’s bid level was a consequence of him aiming for full control.
But even a successful share purchase by Sir Jim — Britain’s richest man — would still see the Glazers at the helm of the club, even if he is likely to harbour longer-term ambitions of eventually landing a majority shareholding. — The Sun.