Manchester United shares jump as Ratcliffe deal eases ownership confusion

Manchester United shares jumped about 4 per cent on Tuesday (Dec 26) after a stake purchase by billionaire Jim Ratcliffe cleared months of doubts over a deal that fans and investors hoped would revitalise the British football club.

Ratcliffe’s INEOS Group is taking a 25 per cent interest in the company at US$33 per share, valuing the 20-time English champions at US$6.3 billion including debt, a person familiar with the matter said.

Under the deal, INEOS will also handle Manchester United’s football operations after the Glazer family’s long-time ownership came under fire for the club’s poor performance over the past decade.

Manchester United’s stock has surged about 52 per cent after the Glazers announced in November last year that they were exploring strategic options, including a sale, for the club.

Since former manager Alex Ferguson stepped down in 2013, the club has seen five regular managers and three caretakers but has failed to recapture its glory days, winning just four trophies in 11 years.

Ratcliffe’s INEOS Sport owns France’s OGC Nice, which comes second in Ligue 1 only behind Paris Saint-Germain, majority-owned by investment fund Qatar Sports Investments.

The Gulf country’s Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani had also considered buying the club, but dropped out of the process saying he would not raise his US$6 billion offer.

INEOS also owns FC Lausanne-Sport, which is in the relegation-threatened tenth place in the Swiss Super League.

Manchester United has been knocked out of European competitions and are eighth in the Premier League table despite heavy investments over the past several years to bring in famous player

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