When Manchester United’s executive leadership team played host to parties bidding to prise control away from the Glazer family earlier this year, one bold number stood out. Buried within the decks of presentations for investors, United stated that they would pass £1billion ($1.2bn) in revenue by the end of the financial year for 2027.
Sources familiar with the bids for United claimed the club’s billion-pound revenue forecast was deemed highly ambitious. The bidders felt such numbers would also require vastly improved on-field performances. This, ultimately, proved to be the breaking point for the Qatari offer fronted by Sheikh Jassim.
Jassim made clear from the very start that he wished to acquire 100 per cent of the club, as well as pledging to clear its debt, which stands at £725m in gross terms, as well as setting aside future funds for the stadium and other infrastructure.
But he appears to have been outmanoeuvred by his rival, the British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe, who offered £1.3bn for a 25 per cent stake in the club. Subject to a final agreement and approval by the United board, that will yield control of the club’s football operations and perhaps a pathway towards future majority control.