Jim Ratcliffe, British petrochemical billionaire agrees to buy 25% stake in English club Manchester United

Manchester United. Billionaire Jim Ratcliffe agrees to buy 25 pct stake in Manchester United. Photo Courtesy:Unsplash

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IBNS: Football giant Manchester United has announced that it has entered into an agreement under which Chairman of INEOS, Jim Ratcliffe, will acquire 25 per cent of Manchester United’s Class B shares and up to 25 per cent of Manchester United’s Class A shares and provide an additional $300 million intended to enable future investment into Old Trafford.

As part of the transaction, INEOS has accepted a request by the Board to be delegated responsibility for the management of the Club’s football operations. This will include all aspects of the men’s and women’s football operations and Academies, alongside two seats on the Manchester United PLC board and the Manchester United Football Club boards.

The joint ambition is to create a world-class football operation building on the Club’s many existing strengths, including the successful off-pitch performance that it continues to enjoy.

Executive Co-Chairmen and Directors, Avram Glazer and Joel Glazer said: “We are delighted to have agreed this deal with Sir Jim Ratcliffe and INEOS. As part of the strategic review we announced in November 2022, we committed to look at a variety of alternatives to help enhance Manchester United, with a focus on delivering success for our men’s, women’s and Academy teams.

“Sir Jim and INEOS bring a wealth of commercial experience as well as significant financial commitment into the Club. And, through INEOS Sport, Manchester United will have access to seasoned high-performance professionals, experienced in creating and leading elite teams from both inside and outside the game. Manchester United has talented people right across the Club and our desire is to always improve at every level to help bring our great fans more success in the future.”

INEOS Chairman,Jim Ratcliffe, said: “As a local boy and a lifelong supporter of the Club, I am very pleased that we have been able to agree a deal with the Manchester United Board that delegates us management responsibility of the football operations of the Club. Whilst the commercial success of the Club has ensured there have always been available funds to win trophies at the highest level, this potential has not been fully unlocked in recent times. We will bring the global knowledge, expertise and talent from the wider INEOS Sport group to help drive further improvement at the Club, while also providing funds intended to enable future investment into Old Trafford.

“We are here for the long term and recognise that a lot of challenges and hard work lie ahead, which we will approach with rigour, professionalism and passion. We are committed to working with everyone at the Club – the Board, staff, players and fans – to help drive the Club forward.

“Our shared ambition is clear: we all want to see Manchester United back where we belong, at the very top of English, European and world football.”

The transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals and all parties are hopeful it will be completed as soon as possible.

Transaction Details

“Under the terms of the transaction agreements, Trawlers Limited will (i) acquire 25% of the Class B ordinary shares of the Company, par value $0.0005 per share (“Class B shares”), and (ii) initiate a tender offer to acquire up to a number of shares that, at launch, will represent 25% of the Class A ordinary shares of the Company, par value $0.0005 per share (“Class A shares”), in each case at a price of $33.00 per share in cash. Subject to a sufficient number of Class A shares being tendered in the offer, Trawlers Limited would own 25% of the Club following the closing of the transaction,” the football giant said in a statement.

Sir Jim will provide a $300 million fund intended to enable future investment into the Club’s infrastructure at Old Trafford, comprising $200 million paid upon the closing of the transaction and a further $100 million by the end of 2024.

Trawlers Limited will be issued additional Class A and Class B shares at $33.00 in respect of such investment.

The transaction will be fully funded by Trawlers Limited without any debt.

The Board of Directors of Manchester United plc has approved the transaction and recommended that the Manchester United plc shareholders tender their shares in the tender offer and approve the change to the Articles of Association of Manchester United plc to, among other things, permit the transfer of Class B shares.

The closing of the tender offer will be subject to the receipt of Premier League approval and other necessary regulatory approvals, shareholder approval of an amendment to the Articles of Association and other customary conditions.

Trawlers Limited is a company incorporated under the laws of Isle of Man and is wholly-owned by Jim Ratcliffe.

Trawlers Limited was advised by Slaughter and May, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, Goldman Sachs International and J.P. Morgan Cazenove. Manchester United was advised by The Raine Group and Latham & Watkins LLP. The Glazer family shareholders were advised by Rothschild and Co.