​Sir Jim Ratcliffe enters the battle for Manchester United

Sir Jim Ratcliffe, the chief executive of Ineos, and one of the richest people in the UK, has acknowledged that he is trying to buy Manchester United from the Glazer family.

Interest must be expressed in advance to the merchant bank handling the transaction for the Glazer family. Although bids from the United States, the Middle East, and Asia are expected, Ratcliffe, who is worth upwards of £18 billion, is the first to formally express interest.

This week the petrochemicals magnate’s representative announced: “We have formally entered the process.”

Parties must now consent to do due diligence before considering a takeover in exchange for access to confidential financial records. There will likely be formal bids starting the following month. According to people familiar with the sales procedure, a sale might not be finished by the end of the season. However, important conversations will reportedly take place this week in London, say press sources.

The Glazers would first need to accept the offer, so it’s uncertain how much higher the bid will go because it’s been said that they’re hoping for more than £5 billion. Chelsea was sold to Todd Boehly and his partners last year for half of that amount.

In November, the Glazer family disclosed that it had begun “a process to investigate strategic alternatives” for United, potentially putting an end to the team’s acrimonious 18-year ownership. A sale, a new investment in the club, or other deals were among the various options considered.

The Glazers believe that a full sale is most likely and that the club’s performance under Erik ten Hag will help drive up the price. It is understood that they are still willing to consider offers for minority ownership. In the Premier League rankings, United is only one point behind Manchester City in second place, and is doing well in its quest to make the Champions League next season.

Ratcliffe tried to buy Chelsea last year, but was too late to fill out an official interest form. When he visited Joel and Avram Glazer last year, United was not formally for sale, but since then has been pondering whether to make an offer for his boyhood team.

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