Manchester United are meeting with the two most high-profile bidders, consortiums led by Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani and Sir Jim Ratcliffe, on Thursday and Friday ahead of what are expected to be improved offers for control of the club, sources have told ESPN.
Sources said that representatives of Qatari banker Sheikh Jassim are expected at Old Trafford and Carrington for presentations on Thursday.
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Sheikh Jassim is not set to attend but British billionaire Ratcliffe, chairman and CEO of chemical company INEOS, could be present for a similar presentation on Friday. Ratcliffe is due to attend Nice‘s Europa Conference League tie with Sheriff Tiraspol on Thursday night.
The Glazer family, who announced they are considering selling the club in November and Raine Group, the merchant bank overseeing the process, are expecting improved offers once presentations to interested parties have concluded.
Sources added that indicative offers received before Raine’s soft deadline fell below the Glazer family’s valuation of around £6 billion.
There have also been talks with other consortiums interested in a full takeover and at least three U.S.-based hedge funds, including Elliot Investment Management, who have indicated they would be willing to make a minority investment.
Sources said that, for now, the Glazers are keeping all options open.
Representatives of Sheikh Jassim are hoping the presentations will give them a better understanding of the work needed to improve facilities at Old Trafford and Carrington. Plans to redevelop Old Trafford have been started by the Glazers but are on hold while the ownership situation remains up in their air.
There are also tentative plans to improve Carrington, including building designated facilities for the women’s team and installing cart paths to allow easier access around the site.
Sources close to a number of interested parties have indicated to ESPN they do not believe the Glazers’ valuation of the club accurately measures the amount of post-takeover investment which would be needed to make Old Trafford and Carrington among the best football facilities in the world.