Billionaire James Ratcliffe Pays $1.3 Billion For 25% Stake In Manchester United
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Billionaire James Ratcliffe Pays $1.3 Billion For 25% Stake In Manchester United

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British billionaire James Ratcliffe purchased a 25% stake in Premier League team Manchester United on Tuesday, marking the completion of a $1.3 billion deal that comes months after Qatari official Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani withdrew a $6 billion bid for the club.

Key Facts

Ratcliffe acquired 25% of United’s Class B and Class A shares as the club’s publicly traded stock closed down a fraction of a percent at $17.50 Tuesday.

Ratcliffe will invest another $300 million into the club that will be allocated toward infrastructure of its stadium, Old Trafford.

Ratcliffe said in a statement the deal marks the start of Manchester United’s return “to the top of English, European and world football,” as the club has dealt with a competitive decline after dominating several competitions from the 1990s to the early 2010s.

Ratcliffe’s minority share purchase was speculated last year, when Sheikh Jassim withdrew a $6 billion bid for the team, which its American owners believed was worth a more than $7 billion asking price.

Forbes Valuation

We estimate Ratcliffe’s net worth at $21.1 billion, a figure largely from his founding and majority ownership of petrochemical manufacturer Ineos Group, which generates $65 billion in revenue annually.

Tangent

Billionaire former hedge fund manager Leon Cooperman purchased more than 900,000 shares in the club late last year worth nearly $17.5 million. Psquared Asset Management AG, Antara Capital and Eminence Capital have acquired stakes valued between $17 million and $30 million since takeover speculation of Manchester United began in 2022.

Key Background

Forbes estimates Manchester United’s value at $6 billion, which matches the bid made and withdrawn by Sheikh Jassim last year. The sheikh and Radcliffe’s Ineos Group were the only two parties to submit bids before Manchester United’s April 28 deadline last year. The club is still majority owned and controlled by the Glazer family, who are also the owners of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and have an estimated net worth of $10 billion. Manchester United is one of the most successful clubs in Premier League history, though the team hasn’t brought home a league trophy since the 2012 season. Fans of the club have expressed outrage with the Glazer family in recent years and have staged protests demanding they sell Manchester United, claiming the family has prioritized using the historic club for their own financial benefit at the expense of the team’s on-field performance.

Further Reading

Qatari Sheikh Revokes $6 Billion Bid For Manchester United—Opening Door For U.K. Billionaire James Ratcliffe (Forbes)

Billionaire Leon Cooperman Owns $17.5 Million Stake In Manchester United (Forbes)

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