Glazers must expect unprecedented backlash from fans if they reject takeover offers from Manchester United

Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al-Thani missed a flexible deadline to submit enhanced takeover offers earlier this week, suggesting Manchester United’s sale process was getting a bit ridiculous.

Both requested extensions, and The Raine Group, which is overseeing the process on behalf of the Glazers, unsurprisingly agreed to that. ‘Soft terms’ are simply there to move the procurement process to the next step.

Ratcliffe submitted his offer on Thursday, a day after the Wednesday deadline, but Sheikh Jassim had not yet submitted his. Around 48 hours of confusion followed, but the second Qatar-led bid was finally recognized on Saturday.

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The acquisition process has become a pantomime, and when the curtains close, it may end in tears. Avram Glazer and Joel Glazer are reluctant sellers for the club and rejection by big players wouldn’t come as a total surprise.

The Qataris want 100 per cent of the club and Ratcliffe wants to buy Glazer’s combined shareholding of around 69 per cent, but the American family also has the option of selling a minority stake, with equity firms smelling blood in the water.

A sale of a minority stake, especially to an equity firm that could provide short-term funding, would seem to be a good fit for the Glazers, since they would still control their most valuable asset; however, it would be a nightmare scenario for supporters.

It would be a disaster, as it would not only squander the opportunity for genuine change with Sheikh Jassim and Ratcliffe at the table, but could potentially mean welcoming an equity firm, which exists solely for profit.


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