23, November 2022
Manchester United would fetch a record amount for a football club should their American owners sell the English giants after 17 years at the helm, analysts said Wednesday.
The Premier League outfit announced late Tuesday they were considering “all strategic alternatives, including new investment into the club, a sale, or other transactions involving the company”.
Analysts said the Glazer family could make around £5 billion ($6 billion) from the sale of a club it spent £790 million to buy, largely with debt, in 2005.
British billionaire and United fan Jim Ratcliffe is seen as a front runner for the club, which has fallen behind English rivals Liverpool and Manchester City in trophies won and stadium modernisation.
Ratcliffe, who owns the Ineos chemical group, expressed interest in buying United after his unsuccessful bid for another Premier League team, Chelsea, in May. The London club eventually went for a world-record £2.5 billion.
Simon Chadwick, professor of sport and geopolitical economy at SKEMA Business School, said interest would likely also come from outside the United Kingdom.
“I can imagine that billionaires in South East Asia, from Malaysia or Indonesia where United have a lot of supporters, would be interested. That or a consortium of US investors,” he told AFP.
Chadwick added that the Glazers may believe the club has reached its peak value after Europe’s elite teams failed to win support for a Super League, and with United needing big investment.
“The Super League discussion will continue to rumble on, until it either happens or doesn’t, but these are harsh economic times and football is a high-cost industry,” he said.