Deal completed as Sir Jim Ratcliffe buys 25% of Manchester United

Manchester United have confirmed that that deal for Sir Jim Ratcliffe to buy 25% of the club has been completed.

The club announced in December that a deal had been agreed, with the Glazer family remaining majority owners of Manchester United. Ratcliffe bough into the Red Devils for $1.3 billion.

Back in December, Manchester United announced the details that Ratcliffe and his INEOS group will run the sporting side of Manchester United moving forward and provide up to $300 million to improve Old Trafford.

This deal was subject to the Premier League's owners' and directors' test, with all procedural matters wrapped up and completed on Tuesday.

Manchester United statement in full - December 24

Manchester United plc reaches agreement for Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Chairman of INEOS, to acquire up to a 25% shareholding in the Company.

  • Acquisition of 25% of the Class B shares held by the Glazer family

  • Offer to acquire up to 25% of all Class A shares

  • The Glazer family and Class A shareholders will receive the same price of $33.00 per share

  • Further investment of $300 million in the Club

  • INEOS delegated responsibility for management of football operations

  • Completion of this deal is subject to receiving all necessary regulatory approvals including from the Premier League

Manchester United plc (NYSE: MANU) announced today that it has entered into an agreement under which Chairman of INEOS, Sir 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, Sir 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.

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 Sir 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.

What changes might Jim Ratcliffe make at Man United?

This investment and change in the sporting direction means that Manchester United can finally start to plan ahead.

Last year the Glazer family publicly opened up talks about a takeover or investment in the club (which they've owned a majority stake in since 2005) and this has been a long, drawn out process that Ratcliffe has finally won.

The lifelong Manchester United fan has a vision to transform United on the pitch and his INEOS group have had success investing and transforming sports teams with the likes of Sir David Brailsford set to play a key role in reshaping the sporting side of the club.

Despite the previous success of the INEOS group, Manchester United is one of the biggest sports teams on the planet and now all eyes will be on who Ratcliffe appoints to major roles on the sporting side and if Erik ten Hag keeps his position as manager.

What does Jim Ratcliffe sale mean for Erik ten Hag?

Erik ten Hag has spoken glowingly about the impending arrival of INEOS and their expertise in sports teams. Why wouldn't he?

The Dutch coach has done a really good job to steady things at United over the last 18 months and deliver a trophy, a top four finish last season and despite all of the issues this season they are still in the top four hunt.

It feels like Erik ten Hag is the kind of coach INEOS will back and if they can get the proper structure in place to bring through young talents and find some of the best young players in the world for reasonable transfer fees, ETH is the right man to lead United.

What is Jim Ratcliffe’s net worth?

This is the start of a new era for the sporting side of the club but the Glazer family still remain in charge of the business side.

Over time, Ratcliffe and his INEOS group could made inroads and buy a larger stake of Manchester United as Ratcliffe's net worth is estimated to be just under $38 billion. His INEOS group were said to have a turnover of $82.8 billion in 2021.

For now he owns 25% and has total control of the sporting side of the club but it feels like this is the start of something bigger.

It's an intriguing deal and one Manchester United's fans are hoping brings clarity and direction on the pitch and is the start of a new era for the historic club.