Manchester United takeover battle set to enter its next stage with representatives of each bidder due to meet officials at Old Trafford on Thursday – with Qatari investors remaining quietly confident of seeing off Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Co
- The next stage of the battle to takeover Manchester United has already begun
- Groups of prospective bidders are due in Manchester to meet club officials
- It is thought that representatives from the Qatar-based bid will jet in this week
The next stage of the battle for Manchester United has already started – with groups due in Manchester from Thursday.
Sportsmail understands that those who have made it through to the second step of the process are to meet officials at Old Trafford imminently.
It is thought that representatives from the Qatar-based bid, revealed by this newspaper, will jet in next week. Those from the Sir Jim Ratcliffe team are also due to visit Manchester as US bankers Raine Group seek to thrash out a deal.
Following the deadline for bids for total control and partial investment last month, Raine selected a number of interested parties with whom they wish to take things forward.
It can be disclosed that a period of due diligence questions and answers is already underway, with discussions between various groups ongoing having started last Monday. Those still in the hunt can request financial information before they head to the club’s stadium for further talks.
The next stages of United’s takeover are ongoing as bidders prepare to meet club officials
The frontrunners to buy United are Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani (L) and Jim Ratcliffe (R)
It is unlikely that Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani or Ratcliffe or United’s owners the Glazer family will be present at the summits. Instead senior financial and executive figures from the bidders, United and Raine are set to exchange information.
A period of exclusivity is then likely to follow, where a chosen party is given full access to the club’s books in order to make a final offer. While only two have gone public, there are thought to be at least two others also in the running.
There remains a quiet confidence among the Qatar-based bid, which is viewed in some quarters as the favourite.
The Glazer family invited offers for partial investment or full control. However, some close to the process feel that the two of the six children most invested in the club, Joel and Avie, may seek to remain on the scene in some capacity, buoyed by United’s resurgence under manager Erik ten Hag, despite Sunday’s 7-0thumping at Liverpool. A relatively untapped global market, along with a forthcoming World Cup to be held in North America, are thought to be an enticing prospect.
The Glazer family are looking to sell the Red Devils in what would be the biggest deal in history
Around £1bn to £2bn is needed to either redevelop Old Trafford or build a new stadium, with the former the more likely outcome.
A vast upgrade of the club’s training ground is also needed. The Glazers are thought to be looking for around £6bn to relinquish the club, with bids so far falling short of that figure – although that was to be expected.
There remains a hope that a deal can be struck before the end of the first quarter, although the process would have to accelerate should that be the case.
Qatar want to be in place in time for the transfer window, to ensure they can arm ten Hag with substantial funds.
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