Manchester United have been linked with various names from left to right. From players to the coaching staff to boardroom members, The Red Devils aren’t messing around. Recently, billionaire Michael Knighton was also linked to a takeover of Manchester United, but that news has since cooled off.
Another businessman making the round of news has been Sir Jim Ratcliffe. After long being linked with a move to buy Manchester United, Sir Jim Ratcliffe has finally declared his interest in a takeover of his boyhood club.
With the Glazers reportedly open to selling, the Oldham-born billionaire has spoken about the prospect of buying the team he grew up watching. And he is one of very few with the financial power to pull off a purchase.
Just a day ago, even Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that he will be buying Manchester United but later clarified that to be a joke. Although, the report of Sir Jim Ratcliffe buying Manchester United seems to be genuine.
A report claimed that the Glazers were considering selling a minority stake in United and that they were discussing this with potential investors. When posed the question as to whether this would be something that Ratcliffe, owner of Ineos, would be interested in, a spokesperson said: “If the club is for sale, Jim is definitely a potential buyer.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe wants to buy a stake in Manchester United, spokesman tells @DickinsonTimes: “If the club is for sale, Jim is definitely a potential buyer”, told The Times. 🚨 #MUFC
“If was possible, we’d be interested in talking with a view to long-term ownership”, added. pic.twitter.com/CQCxfdUbJT
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) August 17, 2022
“If something like this was possible, we would be interested in talking with a view to long-term ownership. This is not about the money that has been spent or not spent. Jim is looking at what can be done now and, knowing how important the club is to the city, it feels like the time is right for a reset.”
So who is Sir Jim Ratcliffe and why are Manchester United fans excited by the prospect of him buying the Old Trafford outfit?
Also read: Who is Richard Arnold – Manchester United’s CEO
Who is Sir Jim Ratcliffe?
Ratcliffe is a 69-year-old billionaire who was born in Failsworth and is a boyhood United fan. He is currently the owner of French Ligue 1 side Nice and owns the chemical company Ineos, which has made him a billionaire as well as Britain’s richest man.
And the boyhood United fan is also the owner of the professional cycling team Ineos Grenadiers, Sir Ben Ainslie’s sailing team, Ineos Team UK, and is one of the sponsors of the Mercedes Formula One team. Although he has supported United since he was a child, after moving to London, Ratcliffe became a season ticket holder at Chelsea. He would also go on to make a last-minute bid to take over the Stamford Bridge club when Roman Abramovich was forced to sell earlier this year, however, his attempts failed.
All of this has equated to Ratcliffe totalling a net worth of an astonishing 14.7 billion USD, which equates to around £10.9 billion. According to Forbes, as of 2022, Ratcliffe has an estimated net worth of $16.3bn (£13.5bn).
Ratcliffe’s company also sells a diverse range of products, from synthetic oils and plastics to solvents used to make insulin and antibiotics. As well as owning French club Nice, Ratcliffe also purchased Swiss top-flight football team FC Lausanne-Sport in 2017, which adds to the list of sports clubs he owns underneath his company’s name.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe to the rescue?
Britain's richest man has announced his interest in buying #MUFC and the fans ask – How will he be as an owner?
We answer that by looking at his tenure at #OGCNice, a club he has owned since 2019. #GlazersOut https://t.co/2oSLAbEVez
— FootTheBall FC (@FootTheBallFC) August 18, 2022
What does this mean for Manchester United?
It is clear that there is definite interest from Ratcliffe in buying United. However, there are a couple of stumbling blocks.
The biggest stumbling block at present is the Glazers, and whether they would actually be open to selling up. Financial sources, though, believe the American family will have to eventually bring in an investor or sell to improve the club’s cash flow.
There are not many people who could afford to buy United whose glory days might be behind them, but are still the biggest club in the Premier League and one of the biggest in the world. Ratcliffe is one of the few interested buyers who can realistically cash out the amount required, and his declaration of interest in buying United is undeniably a huge positive for those fans wanting to see the back of the Glazers.
Why United fans want Glazers out and Ratcliffe in?
Bloomberg’s 2022 billionaire index listed Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s personal wealth at £7.1 billion. The Times reports Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s company Ineos has an annual turnover of £44 billion.
It was key that an Ineos spokesperson communicated to The Times rather than Ratcliffe himself, indicating a takeover bid would come with his full company power and wealth, rather than being a purely personal venture, and this is better for Manchester United.
Ineos has a five-year sponsorship deal with the Mercedes Formula 1 team, who also share sponsors TeamViewer with Manchester United. Sir Jim Ratcliffe was born in Greater Manchester and supported Manchester United as a boy.
Manchester United fans will greet the news with extreme happiness after years of struggle under The Glazers, both on and off the pitch. If the takeover by Ratcliffe does eventually works out, the red side of Manchester and its fans will undoubtedly hope the glory days are back since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013.