Qatari investors are readying a roughly £5 billion ($6 billion) opening bid for Manchester United Plc, people with knowledge of the matter said, ahead of what’s expected to be a fierce bidding war for the English football giant.
A consortium including Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber al-Thani, the country’s former prime minister and ex-head of the Qatar Investment Authority, is putting the final touches on a proposal to acquire the English Premier League club from the US Glazer family.
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Deliberations are ongoing and no final decisions on the size or timing of any proposal have been taken, according to the people. A representative for Sheikh Hamad didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Bloomberg News reported this week that the QIA has been helping with preparations for a bid alongside local family offices. Any offer is likely to face competition from British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe, who’s already lined up financing from banks including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. for a bid of his own.
Manchester United is one of the biggest names in world sports and has been the subject of increasing takeover speculation since Bloomberg News reported in the summer that the Glazer family was open to selling a stake. New York bank Raine Group is advising the Glazers.
A Qatari bid could be complicated by the fact Qatar Sports Investments, a state-backed entity that’s separate to QIA, already owns French super-club Paris Saint-Germain FC.
Regulations from European football’s governing body, UEFA, state that teams with the same majority owner can’t both compete in the region’s major tournaments, including the showpiece Champions League.
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