·23 March 2023
·23 March 2023
The takeover of Manchester United could see a new record set for the most expensive takeover in Premier League history.
The club’s owners, the Glazer family, have reportedly extended the deadline for interested parties to submit bids if they wish to buy the Old Trafford club.
Qatari banker Sheikh Jassim and Sir Jim Ratcliffe, owner of petrochemicals giants Ineos, have publically declared their interest in a takeover.
As a globally recognised brand and historically successful club, Manchester United is one of football’s most valuable commodities and any deal is likely to surpass in value the takeover of Chelsea by a consortium led by Todd Boehly last year.
The Independent looks at six of the most expensive:
It was the deal that precipitated the establishment of Manchester City as one of the Premier League’s biggest clubs, leading to an era of record transfer deals and significant, sustained success. Sheikh Mansour, the Deputy Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, completed his controversial takeover in September 2008 through the Abu Dhabi United Group, an investment arm of the Abu Dhabi royal family.
Six Premier League titles have followed, with Manchester City’s owners also investing in a number of other clubs around the world to create a global network. But alleged breaches of the Premier League’s financial rules have led to the club being charged by the English top division.
Already the owners of Major League Baseball’s Boston Red Sox, Fenway Sports Group (FSG) completed their purchase of Liverpool in October 2010. Led by billionaire John W Henry, the sports investment conglomerate was founded in 2001 and their investment helped Jurgen Klopp assemble the first Premier League title-winning Liverpool side.
But FSG have proved increasingly unpopular among Liverpool supporters, with Henry apologising to fans for the club’s proposed involvement in the failed European Super League project, and FSG confirmed late last year that they would be willing to consider new shareholders amid reports the club was up for sale.
A consortium led by the Saudi Public Investment Fund completed their takeover of Newcastle in October 2021. The deal was delayed after initial resistance from the Premier League amid significant criticism from human rights groups and reports of influence on the league from Qatar-based television partner beIN Sports, but was eventually concluded after a protracted 18-month process.
Increased investment has allowed Eddie Howe’s side to establish themselves as top-four challengers this season.
American billionaire Stan Kroenke has been involved with Arsenal since 2008, spending a total of in excess of £700 million to take and maintain majority control of the club. The septuagenarian is also a team owner in the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLS.
In 2018, his buyout of former club shareholder Alisher Usmanov valued Arsenal’s shareholdings at £1.8 billion. After an extended period without mounting a serious title challenge, the London club are currently top of the Premier League under manager Mikel Arteta.
The Glazer family first to took a minor stake in Manchester United in 2003, slowly buying out other shareholders over the next two years to complete a full takeover in 2005. Patriarch Malcolm Glazer, who also led the purchase of NFL franchise the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, died in 2014, leaving control of the club in the hands of his six children.
Sons Joel and Avram have been most heavily involved and suffered significant criticism, with Old Trafford in need of refurbishment and Manchester United’s on-field fortunes suffering a down-turn after the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson. The Glazers now appear on the brink of a sale.
The most expensive takeover in Premier League history to date happened last year in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Sanctions placed on Roman Abramovich, an oligarch with ties to Vladimir Putin’s government, forced the Russian to sell the London club he had owned since 2003. Chelsea drew interest from a number of consortiums and wealthy individuals, pushing the potential sale price up to in excess of £4 billion, with a consortium fronted by American investor Todd Boehly sealing the takeover in May 2022.
A part owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Sparks, Boehly’s ownership of the club has so far seen a major outlay in the transfer market, with the businessman’s erratic transfer strategy and heavy involvement in the football side of the club criticised by some. Reported clashes between Thomas Tuchel and Boehly brought an end to the German manager’s tenure at Stamford Bridge last September, with Graham Potter appointed as Tuchel’s replacement.
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