British billionaire confirms interest to buy Manchester United

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British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe has confirmed he wants to buy a stake in Manchester United, to take full control of the club in the future.

Ineos founder Ratcliffe is keen to speak to the club’s American owners, the Glazer family, about purchasing a stake in United.

“If the club is for sale, Jim is a potential buyer,” a spokesperson for Ratcliffe told The Times.

It comes after a Bloomberg story published on Wednesday claimed the Glazers are considering selling a minority stake in United.

The Times claims United supporter Ratcliffe, who has an estimated net worth of $13bn (£10.8bn), has the means to take full control of the Premier League club.

But he would be willing to discuss a minority holding with the Glazers if it was part of a plan to take full control at a later date.

Ratcliffe’s spokesperson says that fresh investment in United could be used to upgrade the club’s dated facilities, most notably Old Trafford.

“This is not about the money that has been spent or not spent. Jim is looking at what can be done now and, knowing how important the club is to the city, it feels like the time is right for a reset,” the spokesperson added.

The Glazers became United’s owners in 2005 after spending £790m, much of which came in the form of loans, to complete a takeover of the club.

The American family has faced intense criticism from supporters over their ownership, with many fans unhappy about a perceived lack of investment in the club.

The news that they are now considering selling a minority stake in United prompted a sharp rise in the club’s share price, even after the team’s disappointing start to the season under new manager Erik ten Hag.

It has been claimed by Goal that the Glazers now value the club at more than $6bn (£5bn). If the club was sold for that figure, it would be the most expensive sale of a football club in history.

The current record is held by Chelsea, who were sold by Roman Abramovich to an investment group led by Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital for $5.2bn (£4.3bn) in May.

Ratcliffe, who already owns French side Nice, failed in a bid to buy Chelsea earlier this year but made it clear at the time that he is interested in controlling a major Premier League club.

The news of Ratcliffe’s interest in United comes just hours after the world’s richest man, Elon Musk, claimed to be planning to buy the Red Devils, before retracting his statement.

“I’m buying Manchester United ur welcome,” the chief executive of Tesla and SpaceX tweeted.

After his post had attracted thousands of likes from United supporters, Musk wrote: “No, this is a long-running joke on Twitter. I’m not buying any sports teams.”

He added: “Standup is my side hustle.”

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