Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s INEOS has entered the race to buy Manchester United.
One of the richest men in Britain, the 70-year-old has been a United fan since childhood. Those interested in buying United must register their interest with Raine Group, the bank handling the sale of the club for the Glazer family.
“We have formally engaged in the process,” a Ratcliffe spokesman confirmed to The Times. The Athletic have contacted Raine to confirm INEOS’ interest.
Registration allows interested parties to conduct due diligence on the club. Bids would then come in from next month and United could be sold by the end of the current season.
The Glazers announced in November that they were reviewing “new investments in the club, a sale or other transactions related to the company,” potentially marking the end of their 18 years as owners.
Ratcliffe expressed interest in Chelsea last year but the club were sold to Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital.
He also claimed in October that he would have tried to buy United if the club had been up for sale in the summer.
Speaking to the Financial Times, he said: “I’m a lifelong Manchester United fan. I was at that most remarkable game in Barcelona in 1999. That is burned deep into my memory.
“Manchester United is owned by the Glazer family. I met Joel and Avram. They are the nicest of people, I must say, real gentlemen.
“They don’t want to sell it (the club). It belongs to the father’s six children. If it had been for sale in the summer, yes, we probably would have tried it after the Chelsea thing. But we cannot sit around and hope that one day Manchester United will become available.”
United are on the up in the Premier League. They beat Manchester City on Saturday and are fourth in the Premier League.
INEOS already owns French club Nice, FC Lausanne in Switzerland and Racing Club Abidjan in Ivory Coast. They also own the INEOS Grenadiers cycling team and are involved in the Mercedes F1 team.
INEOS recently appointed Jean Claude Blanc, former managing director of Juventus Turin and Paris Saint-Germain, as CEO of its sports business.
What kind of Manchester United owner would Sir Jim Ratcliffe make?
(Photo: Getty Images)