- British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe has agreed to buy a 25% stake in Manchester United at about £25 ($33) per share and provide a further £245M ($300M) investment to improve Old Trafford. However, the deal could take up to eight weeks to complete, pending all necessary regulatory approvals.1
- In an open letter to United fans published on Tuesday by Manchester United Supporter's Trust, Ratcliffe has vowed to be 'ambitious' but admitted the need for 'time and patience' to take the club back to the 'very top of English, European and world football.'2
- Manchester United shares, which went up by 3% after Ratcliffe's stake was confirmed, surged about 52% after the Glazers announced their intention to sell the club to explore strategic alternatives last November.3
- According to the 2023 Sunday Times Rich List, Ratcliffe is the UK's second-richest person with an estimated wealth of £29.7B ($40B). He is the founder and majority owner of the British petrochemicals empire INEOS — a prominent investor in soccer, Formula One auto racing, cycling, sailing, and rugby worldwide.4
- Ratcliffe, a self-proclaimed 'lifelong supporter of the club' the Glazer family bought for £790M ($1B) in 2005, tabled a bid to buy Chelsea last year [but lost to American businessman Todd Boehly.]5
- The 20-time English champions, Manchester United, have struggled on the pitch since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, clinching only the 2022-23 Carabao Cup since 2017. This season, the team is languishing in the Premier League and has been knocked out of other competitions.6
- Narrative A, as provided by Manchester Evening News. After disastrous years under the Glazer family promoted a culture of incompetence at Old Trafford, this acquisition represents a new dawn for United fans. It's certain that only time will judge whether Ratcliffe can make a difference, but his plans to appoint a sporting director could prove the most important decision since the appointment of Sir Alex Ferguson back in 1986.
- Narrative B, as provided by Independent. Though an undeniable commercial superpower, Manchester United has long been a mess on and off the pitch as the club has failed to invest in infrastructure, and its billionaire spending since Sir Alex Ferguson retired hasn't translated into a major title challenge. Ratcliffe may have the best intentions for the club, but because United faces pressing issues, it could take too long for his vision to be realized.