Jim Ratcliffe, a billionaire who owns petrochemicals firm INEOS, plans to submit an offer to purchase Manchester United from the Glazer family, who recently announced their desire to sell the Premier League team.
“We have formally put ourselves into the process,” INEOS said in a statement to The Associated Press on Tuesday. Ratcliffe, one of the richest people in Britain, is a United fan and has previously indicated a desire to buy the club. However, INEOS said in the summer that it was no longer interested in bidding for any Premier League club and would, instead, focus its attention on French team Nice, which it already owns.
That position has changed now that United's American owners, the Glazer family, are prepared to sell. The family, which also owns the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers, outlined plans to seek outside funding in November. “As part of this process, the board will consider all strategic alternatives, including new investment into the club, a sale, or other transactions involving the company,” it said in a statement at the time.
Ratcliffe made a late bid to buy Chelsea last year when former owner Roman Abramovich put the London club up for sale. A consortium led by Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital eventually secured a deal worth 2.5 billion pounds ($3 billion) for Chelsea, which also included a commitment of 1.75 billion pounds ($2 billion) of further investment.
It has been reported that individuals and groups from the United States, the Middle East, and Asia are considering purchasing Manchester United, but INEOS is the first to publicly announce their involvement in the bidding process. The previous owner, Malcolm Glazer, purchased the team in 2005 for £790 million (approximately $1.4 billion at the time).