Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani of Qatar has withdrawn his offer to purchase legendary soccer team Manchester United, a source familiar with the situation told The Associated Press on Saturday.
Due to the process’s confidentiality requirements, the speaker agreed to remain anonymous.
Sheikh Jassim was one of the top candidates to buy the Premier League team after it was placed up for sale last year.
The Qatari banker was one of only two bidders to officially announce their intention to buy out United owners, the Glazer family, along with British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe.
But over a year after offers for the 20-time English League champions were invited, Sheikh Jassim reportedly notified the Glazers that he is abandoning his offer.
The final offer from Sheikh Jassim, according to the source, was almost double the $3.2 billion market value of United.
Even if it has been said that Ratcliffe is willing to accept a minority interest, his offer is still valid.
For comment, the Associated Press got in touch with United and the merchant bank Raine, which is in charge of the transaction.
Sheikh Jassim’s choice comes as United supporters have grown impatient with the length of time it has taken to finalize the potential sale.
Fans have demonstrated outside the club’s Old Trafford stadium, calling for its American owners to sell, and during matches, cries of “Glazers out” are frequently heard.
“MUFC urgently requires additional capital and controlling ownership. In a message on X, then known as Twitter, the Manchester United Supporters Trust expressed their hope that this news will speed up rather than slow down that process. No one can be certain given the past 11 months.The Glazers must state their viewpoint unequivocally.
The Glazers revealed their intentions to look for additional investment in November and gave Raine the task of managing the procedure, which might involve a complete sale.
Last year, Raine handled the Chelsea sale to Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital.
There was hope that a buyer would be identified in time for the off-season transfer window, but no sign of a deal being close to conclusion has emerged.
The son of a former Qatari prime minister, Sheikh Jassim, was vying to acquire 100% of United, which attracted supporters who were eager to wave goodbye to the Glazers. Sheikh Jassim is the chairman of Qatar Islamic Bank.
Additionally, he promised to pay off the club’s debt while making investments in the stadium, training facility, and playing teams in an effort to “return the club to its former glory both on and off the pitch.”
Fans wanted to see the club compete with the extravagant spending of Abu Dhabi-backed Manchester City, which completed a treble of trophies last season by winning the Premier League, Champions League, and FA Cup. Although concerns had been raised about Qatar’s human rights record and the possibility that United could be used as a so-called sportswashing project, fans wanted to see the club compete with the club’s extravagant spending.
The source claimed that Sheikh Jassim’s choice was made following the most recent price negotiations. Although it is unclear how much of the club he is attempting to acquire, his withdrawal would seem to put Ratcliffe in the lead.
Ratcliffe, one of the richest individuals in Britain and the owner of the petrochemical firm INEOS, had made a proposal for the Glazers’ about 69% interest, but later reports indicated that the current owners might be allowed to keep some of their shares as part of the buyout.
Ratcliffe is reportedly ready to take a minority stake today, according to recent sources, leaving the Glazers in charge.
Ratcliffe was raised in Failsworth, Greater Manchester, and has supported the Red Devils ever since. United supporters had long hoped he would make an offer for the team, but those who desire a full sale would not be happy with a deal in which the Glazers retained a majority ownership.
Longtime owners of the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Glazers, have been evicted by United supporters.
In the midst of fan protests, late businessman Malcolm Glazer purchased United in 2005 for 790 million pounds (about $1.4 billion at the time).
After a challenging start to the season for Erik ten Hag’s squad, United are presently ranked 10th in the Premier League.