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Manchester United: Sir Jim Ratcliffe's deal with the Glazers explained and what it means for the Premier League club – Sky Sports

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SirJim Ratcliffe purchases 25 per cent of Man Utd for £1.2bn, with the deal giving the INEOS owner control of football operations and a say in the commercial side managed by the Glazer family; Sky Sports News chief reporter Kaveh Solhekol explains what this might mean for the future
Sky Sports News Chief Reporter
Tuesday 26 December 2023 13:33, UK
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Sky Sports News chief reporter Kaveh Solhekol explains what INEOS chair Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s acquisition of 25 per cent of Manchester United could mean for the club moving forward…
We have finally got there, but where have we got to?
It is a step into the unknown, because we have got a situation where somebody is buying 25 per cent of a football club, but he is getting control of football operations, and the Glazer family is giving away 25 per cent of football operations, which in my mind is an admission of failure.
They are basically saying, since Sir Alex Ferguson left we haven’t done the business on the pitch, we’ve tried everything, we’ve backed managers, we have given them money – it hasn’t worked out. Now these new people have come along, they are only going to own 25 per cent of the club, but we are going to give them control of football.
In a way it suits the Glazers as well, because they can take a step back and they are hoping, if things go wrong on the pitch, they are not the ones that are going to be blamed, it is going to be Ratcliffe and INEOS who are going to be blamed.
But already speaking to people about this deal over the last couple of days, they are saying to me how is this going to work?
You have just got an extra voice in the room now. So when it comes to signing players, for instance, or firing managers, you have just got an extra layer, an extra owner who is going to be in the mix when it comes to making these decisions.
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We are being told that Ratcliffe and INEOS are going to control football operations but at the end of the day they only own 25 per cent of the club. Is that really going to be the case going forward if things go wrong?
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It is quite complicated, they are buying 25 per cent of the Class B shares owned by the Glazer family.
Now these are super-voting shares, so although the Glazers only own 69 per cent of Manchester United, their shares come with voting rights, which means, effectively, they own 97 per cent of the club. They can make all the big decisions.
Ratcliffe and INEOS have bought 25 per cent of those shares, and they have also offered to buy 25 per cent of the Class A shares – they are the ones that are listed and traded on the New York Stock Exchange.
They are offering $33 a share, which is around £26, the same that they are offering to the Glazers as well, and the Board is recommending the shareholders on the New York Stock Exchange accept that offer of $33 a share, because that is far more than they have been trading at.
I think it’s going to happen, it’s going to take a while because it is going to have to go through the regulatory process at the New York Stock Exchange. It Is also going to have to go through a regulatory process at the Premier League which is going to take six to eight weeks.
He is said to be worth anywhere between £10bn and £20bn.
There is no formal agreement for Sir Jim Ratcliffe to buy any of the Glazers’ shares in the future, but the Ineos chairman has the right of first refusal on any that they sell in the future.
There is going to be a new chief executive, because Richard Arnold has already left. There is talk that could be Jean-Claude Blanc, he is someone who already works at INEOS and had senior executive positions at Juventus and PSG as well. He is very highly regarded. He may well be the next chief executive, he’s been involved in discussions.
New football recruitment director could be Paul Mitchell, someone who has had success before at Southampton, Tottenham and Monaco as well. He is currently out of work and lives close to Old Trafford as well in the northwest.
There are other names in the mix as well. There has been talk of Dan Ashworth, who has done such a brilliant job at the FA, Brighton, and now Newcastle United. But I’m not sure he would want to leave, because Newcastle are on the up at the moment.
Sir Dave Brailsford is expected to have a seat on the Manchester United UK club board along with Jean-Claude Blanc.
Brailsford has a role at INEOS which sees him sort of overseeing all of their sporting interests. Now he is someone who knows Sir Alex Ferguson, Jim Ratcliffe knows him as well and has met him.
I just wonder if Sir Alex Ferguson has been involved in this in the background as well, using his influence to maybe convince the Glazers that Jim Ratcliffe and INEOS are the right people to do business with.
But Dave Brailsford is someone who has had extraordinary success in cycling and he is trying to translate that success into other sports, and football as well.
He is somebody who thinks about marginal gains – ‘I’m going to go into Manchester United and I can improve everything by a couple of per cent and we can turn this around’.
Want to know more about Sir Dave Brailsford? Listen to his philosophy on managing teams, improving the culture and winning & losing mentalities in our ‘Secrets of Success’ podcast.
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His track record in business is incredible, somebody who goes to college, sets up in business, starts buying assets from oil companies that they no longer want, and builds one of the biggest petrochemical companies in the world.
His record in sport is mixed. He bought Team Sky (cycling team), rebranded it as INEOS Grenadiers, their record has been mixed, they are not as successful as they used to be.
Formula 1, they bought a big stake in Mercedes F1, that hasn’t been going very well because Red Bull have been leading the way, and he is involved in sailing as well.
So, it’s been very, very mixed. But he is somebody who thinks he is surrounded by very, very clever people and he is very clever as well.
He’s invested in football. I don’t think Lausanne was a serious play at getting into football, it was more about helping the grassroots club close to INEOS’ headquarters in Switzerland. It’s been very mixed there, they have been relegated a couple of times, but I think that was more to do with helping the Swiss youth and Swiss grassroots football.
Nice, he bought, he wanted to make them into a Champions League club and challenge PSG. That’s been very mixed. I think they have finished sixth, ninth, fifth, ninth.
They are doing much better at the moment, they have got a new sporting director who is going out there to try and find really good young players, they have got a very promising new young manager as well and they are second in the French league.
He has had extraordinary success in business.
He looks at football and what people are doing in football and he thinks with my expertise in business I can translate it into football as well – and what I’m going to do at Manchester United is improve everything by a couple of per cent: the coaching, recruitment, data analysis, nutrition, training, the infrastructure, everything is going to improve.
If you improve everything by a couple of per cent, overall, you will improve everything completely and you can transform Manchester United and return them to former glories.
We’ve been told he is going to invest $200m straightaway once the deal has been completed on infrastructure, that’s roughly £158m.
When it comes to Old Trafford what are you going to get for £158m? A new roof if you are lucky. You’re not going to get a new stadium.
Tottenham’s stadium, probably, the best stadium in the world, costs up to £1bn. Stadiums in the US, some of the best stadiums in the world, cost around £2bn.
So, this is not going to change anything. I think Sheikh Jassim was claiming that he was going to invest £1.5bn on infrastructure, so this is not a game changer.
The people who run Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, and the people who run Tottenham are not going to be losing sleep over the fact that Jim Ratcliffe has arrived.
He is a brilliant businessman, but the jury is out on what he has achieved in football and what he can achieve owning just 25 per cent of the club.
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