Manchester United Plc shares slumped in New York on Monday, following the news over the weekend that the Qatari group was stepping back from a potential takeover.
(Bloomberg) — Manchester United Plc shares slumped in New York on Monday, following the news over the weekend that the Qatari group was stepping back from a potential takeover.
The Qatari withdrawal could eventually pave the way for British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe to gain control of the storied football club.
The near-yearlong bidding process has been beset with delays, with offers failing to meet the £6 billion ($7.3 billion) expectation of the Glazer family, splits among the owners about whether to sell and at what price, and fears of litigation from minority shareholders.
Manchester United’s board was already set to meet this week to discuss earnings, and it is understood will now also discuss Ratcliffe’s bid, according to people familiar with the situation.
The Qatari bid — led by Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad J.J. Al Thani — was the only offer for 100% of Manchester United, with promises of redeveloping the club’s dilapidated stadium. Ratcliffe may end up with an initial stake of roughly 25% in Manchester United, valuing the club at more than £5 billion ($6.1 billion), they said.
Such a valuation would give Manchester United a potential share price close to double the $20-a-share the club is currently valued at.
Manchester United shares fell as much as 13% in trading in New York on Monday, giving the club a market value of $2.86 billion.
Bloomberg reported last week that Ratcliffe had emerged as the front-runner to buy into Manchester United, with the British billionaire’s recently revised offer giving him the edge over the Qataris.
Much of the reaction from fans following the exit of Qatar from the current bidding process has been negative.
“Man United fans are feeling extremely angry and frustrated as they stare down a deep dark hole not knowing what the future is,” said Flex, a founder of United View TV YouTube channel. “They are predicting more mediocrity and sub standards.”
Ratcliffe, one of the UK’s biggest business personalities, would be unlikely to take a back seat at the club if his bid is accepted by the Glazers.
“We have a good offer,” Ratcliffe, a lifelong Manchester United fan, said at a media event in London in July. “We would still very much like to do it, and I think we would do a good job if we did.”
Ratcliffe’s sports teams have had a mixed performance since his company Ineos invested in them, though his biggest football team OGC Nice has made a strong start to the season, currently standing second in the French top tier ahead of Paris Saint-Germain Football Club.
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–With assistance from Subrat Patnaik.
(Updated with additional context, shares.)
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