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“Not matched the PR” – Two reasons why Sheikh Jassim’s Manchester United bid failed



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Sheikh Jassim was unsuccessful in his attempts to purchase Manchester United, with Sir Jim Ratcliffe buying a 25 per cent stake instead.

The two parties were supposedly battling it out following the announcement in November 2022 that the Glazer family were considering ‘strategic alternatives’ including a potential takeover at United.

Sheikh Jassim appeared to be the favourite, however, newly released documents within the SEC filing for the bidding process have helped explain two large reasons why the bid from Qatar was not successful.

Football journalist Ben Jacobs, who covered the takeover process over the last 14 months, highlighted two key quotes from the publically available information which detailed the issues with Sheikh Jassim’s bid.

It concluded that Qatar’s bid consistently failed to provide “customary financing commitment letters” with no mention of pledged investment, before they formally withdrew on October 15, 2014.

There were many mentions of pledged investment from Sheikh Jassim online, and the idea was for a full takeover, but he could not match the valuation set by the Glazers and never once provided evidence of his funds or their source. Jacobs added that “several sources close to the sale had said repeatedly that the reality of Qatar’s offer did not match the PR”.

It was also stressed within the SEC Filings that Manchester United’s Board made it clear that equal per-share consideration for A and B shares was necessary and that was not matched by the Qatari bid.

“Representatives of Manchester United continued to inform Bidder A [Sheikh Jassim] that the Board of Directors was not prepared to move forward with a transaction whereby the holders of Class A Shares received less per share consideration than the holders of Class B Shares and that the Board of Directors would require sufficient evidence of the financing and customary financing commitment papers,” the filings read.

It was also confirmed that Ratcliffe, who originally was aiming for a complete takeover of the Glazer family’s shares, changed to the successful structure in July 2023 – taking a 25 per cent stake with control of the sporting department at the club.

The British billionaire is awaiting ratification of the deal from Premier League authorities but did attend his first game since the original agreement last weekend as United drew against Tottenham Hotspur.