EPL

Manchester United plans to accelerate after Sir Jim Ratcliffe completes deal

By Sports Desk February 20, 2024

Sir Jim Ratcliffe says Manchester United’s journey back to the top of world football starts now after completing his £1.3billion deal to become minority owner of the Premier League giants

A year and three months after the club announced a strategic review, and 58 days after a deal was struck, there is finally a new power structure in place at Old Trafford.

Ratcliffe has completed his purchase of 25 per cent of the shares owned by the Glazer family, who have been United’s majority owners since their controversial leveraged buyout in 2005.

The Ineos chairman paid 33 US dollars (£26) for each of those shares and the same price for 25 per cent of Class A shares, with 10 times fewer voting rights, following a tender process.

Ratcliffe takes control of football operations as part of the deal and plans to ramp up United’s rebuild after his team looked under the hood and began to make moves during the ratification process.

“To become co-owner of Manchester United is a great honour and comes with great responsibility,” the British billionaire said.

“This marks the completion of the transaction, but just the beginning of our journey to take Manchester United back to the top of English, European and world football, with world-class facilities for our fans.

“Work to achieve those objectives will accelerate from today.”

Faltering United have not added to their England record 20 league titles since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, winning just four major trophies in that period.

The Red Devils have lost their way under the Glazer family and Ratcliffe’s involvement brings new hope to Old Trafford.

United co-chairman Joel Glazer said: “I would like to welcome Sir Jim as co-owner and look forward to working closely with him and Ineos Sport to deliver a bright future for Manchester United.”

Ratcliffe’s ownership of United stands at 27.7 per cent as further shares were issued in return for his initial 200m US dollars (£158.5m) capital investment upon completion.

His ownership will increase to 28.9 per cent when he invests a further 100million US dollars (£79.2m) by December 31, 2024.

The outlay from Trawlers Ltd, a company wholly owned by Ratcliffe, is worth a total of 1.65bn US dollars (£1.3bn).

That deal received Premier League and Football Association approval last week and was officially confirmed on Tuesday evening.

The 71-year-old, who was born in Failsworth, Greater Manchester, was a United fan growing up and has been a regular presence around the club since the deal was announced on Christmas Eve.

That included Ratcliffe attending United’s Premier League match against Tottenham on January 14 and the Munich air disaster memorial at Old Trafford on February 6.

Sir Dave Brailsford, Ineos’ director of sport, has been an even greater presence and is set for a key role as Ineos takes control of football operations.

Changes have already started and United raised eyebrows across the football world last month when announcing Manchester City’s Omar Berrada as their new chief executive.

United are hoping to bring in Newcastle sporting director Dan Ashworth as part of their rebuild. The former Football Association technical director has been placed on garden leave after telling the Magpies he was leaving.

The completion of the deal marks the conclusion of a saga which began back in November 2022 when the Glazers announced plans for a strategic review, which could include the sale of the club.

Ratcliffe and Qatari businessman Sheikh Jassim were the front-runners when it became apparent a full sale would be considered, but the latter withdrew last October.

Ratcliffe’s focus shifted to the purchase of a significant minority stake, which has now finally been completed.

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