US firm reaches next stage in Man Utd bid process

LONDON: The US hedge fund Elliott Investment Management has made it into the second stage of the bidding process for the possible sale of Manchester United.

Company officials are said to have been at Old Trafford on Thursday to watch the team’s 4-1 win over Real Betis in the Europa League.

The BBC and Sky Sports said the US company’s proposal is to offer financing to interested parties, including the Glazers’ current owners, if they decide to stay at the club, rather than trying to buy the Premier League giants directly to buy.

Elliott previously owned AC Milan before the Italian club’s sale to American investment firm RedBird Capital last year.

The news comes days after reports that bids by Qatar’s Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani and British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe to buy the club had progressed to the next stage.

Sky Sports and The Telegraph said these two bidders now have the opportunity to conduct due diligence on the club by accessing detailed financial information.

None of the offers are understood to have reached the reported £6bn ($7.2bn) asking price from the Glazers, who said in November they were considering selling the club.

The Americans have been deeply unpopular with United fans since they burdened the club with huge debts following their takeover in 2005, and have also overseen a decline in United’s on-field wealth.

Victory over Newcastle in the League Cup final last month was United’s first trophy in six years. They last won the Premier League title a decade ago.

Qatari banker Sheikh Jassim is aiming to take 100 per cent control of the 20-time English champions and has earned the support of some fans by pledging to pay off United’s debts.

However, the Manchester United Supporters’ Trust has expressed concern over Qatar’s human rights record.

Ratcliffe’s INEOS company is aiming to gain a majority stake in United by buying out the Glazer family’s stake.

Ratcliffe, a self-proclaimed United fan, is one of Britain’s richest people due to the success of his global chemical company. –AFP US firm reaches next stage in Man Utd bid process

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