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Qatar bid for Manchester United withdrawn, Ratcliffe set to acquire minority stake

Big news on the ownership front...

Manchester United v Brentford FC - Premier League Photo by Joe Prior/Visionhaus via Getty Images

Per multiple reports, the Qatar-backed bid to take complete ownership of Manchester United was withdrawn on Saturday. Fabrizio Romano broke the news on twitter, followed by a stream of other reports confirming that the bid led by the mysterious Sheikh Jassim had withdrawn interest after a long and difficult negotiation with the Glazer family.

The Glazers, who have owned the majority shares of the club since their leveraged buyout in 2005, are immensely unpopular with Manchester United fans. Despite the positive of the club avoiding state ownership, the negative of Glazer ownership still remains. Fans are likely to continue demonstrations and protests against the Glazers, as they have down since 2005 but with renewed hostility since the failed bid to join the Super League as a founding member in 2021.

There have were follow up reports on Saturday that Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s bid for United was adjusted to acquire a 25% stake in the club rather than the entirety of the Glazers’ controlling shares, as was the initial plan. This investment is reportedly backed by Goldman Sachs, a notorious Wall Street investment bank, who would likely help front funding funding Old Trafford repairs and renovation. The minority share acquisition could also lead to an eventual takeover, with the Glazers sticking around to continue leeching money from the club in the meantime.

Many online fans appeared to be in favor of a Qatar-backed takeover, with state wealth likely meaning an influx of cash and flashy transfer spending. It is important to remember however that United are already a rich enterprise capable of flashy transfer spending, which they have done to little success over the last 18 years of Glazer ownership. The money isn’t a problem, the management of it is, and with that the Glazers have succeeded only in making themselves richer as the club has literally and figuratively decayed.