Manchester United (NYSE: MANU) confirmed this week that it is commencing a process to explore strategic alternatives for the club, which includes a potential sale. It has resulted in much speculation around potential bidders for the sporting giant.
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Reports first emerged Tuesday that the club’s owners, the Glazer family, are considering selling the club, with confirmation coming later in the day.
The news came shortly after the club announced Cristiano Ronaldo, one of the game’s greatest-ever players, will leave immediately, following an interview in which he criticised the club’s owners and manager.
In its press release on the strategic alternatives, Manchester United said: “As part of this process, the Board will consider all strategic alternatives, including new investment into the club, a sale, or other transactions involving the Company. This will include an assessment of several initiatives to strengthen the club, including stadium and infrastructure redevelopment, and expansion of the club’s commercial operations on a global scale, each in the context of enhancing the long-term success of the club’s men’s, women’s and academy teams, and bringing benefits to fans and other stakeholders.”
Manchester United shares jumped 14.6% in Tuesday’s session before another 28.8% rally on Wednesday, putting it at levels last seen in September 2021.
While the club stated that there could be no assurance that the review would result in a transaction involving the company, speculation began on Wednesday regarding who could potentially acquire the club, which is said to be valued at around $5 billion.
According to The Telegraph, one potential bidder is British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe, who founded chemical giant Ineos. The report states Ratcliffe, who previously expressed an interest when talk about a sale emerged earlier this year, will bid for the club.
INEOS already owns French Ligue One side OGC Nice and Swiss Super League side FC Lausanne-Sport, while working with partner club Racing Club Abidjan in the Ivory Coast. However, with Manchester United being one of, if not the biggest brand in football globally, there are sure to be other interested parties.