Jim Ratcliffe will make an offer to buy Manchester United after Glazer’s formally put the club up for sale, although there is still a significant gap between the valuations.
August’s comments from the owner of Ineos are now seen as the start of a lengthy negotiating process. While the Glazers want £6bn and Raine’s bank, which is expected to oversee any sale, will likely push for the highest bidder in the way it did with Chelsea, Ratcliffe wants to buy him for less than £5bn.
The petrochemical billionaire already owns Nice i Independent could reveal that he had already been offered a chance to buy Liverpool over the last few months but turned it down to ensure the proper running of the French club. His childhood support for United was also the biggest influence, and Mr Ratcliffe now believes the opportunity is “too tempting and special” not to get involved in the process.
He is expected to have competition from at least two other parties, one of whom also tried to buy Chelsea, but that list is expected to grow as potential buyers now announce their intentions.
Independent similarly, Fenway Sports Group was said to have been a huge influence in the Glazers’ surprising decision to confirm the club was for sale.
The common belief in football investment circles is that United have been up for sale for months, he revealed Independent back in August.
A number of sources say the Glazers felt they needed to go public as they now successfully compete with Liverpool for a limited pool of potential buyers.
While trials can take months or even a year, those familiar with the situation say it is now a “dead war”. They are also predicted to take buyers away from each other.
This appears to have already happened with Mr Ratcliffe, who turned down the possibility of buying Liverpool but is now set to see if his long held dream of owning United will finally come true.