Qatari Jassim Al Thani raises his offer for Manchester United

LONDON, 25 Mar. (dpa/EP) –

Manchester United have received a second offer from Qatari Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani to buy the Old Trafford club, the PA news agency has learned.

Sheikh Jassim Al Thani, president of the Qatar Islamic Bank and son of a former Qatari prime minister, presented his new offer overnight. A source close to the bid says the Qataris remain confident of completing the takeover despite rival interest from Jim Ratcliffe and Finnish businessman Thomas Zilliacus.

The deadline for submitting offers had been set for Wednesday, but it was extended. The first round of offers took place last month and it has been reported that there are up to eight different potential investors. No figures have been disclosed, but one or more of the initial offers were around 4,500 million pounds -5,100 million euros.

The American Glazer family acquired the club in 2005 for 750 million pounds -750 million euros- in a highly leveraged operation. Following a controversial tenure, they announced last year that they were looking at “strategic alternatives” that could include a sale.

Ratcliffe, who made an unsuccessful bid to buy Chelsea in 2022 and already owns French side Nice, visited Old Trafford last week. Ratcliffe, 70, was born in Manchester and has been a United fan since he was a child; He is one of the richest people in Great Britain, with a personal fortune estimated at 6,000 million pounds -6,800 million euros-.

Sheikh Jassim Al Thani has stated that his interest is a private initiative through his Nine Two Foundation and that it is not related to the Qatari state. His representatives also visited Old Trafford last week for talks, which were seen as positive and constructive.

Finnish businessman Zilliacus confirmed earlier in the week that he had also submitted an offer. Zilliacus, founder and chairman of investment firm Mobile FutureWorks, wants to buy United in a 50-50 partnership with their fans, who will have a say in the Premier League club’s decision-making process.

Little to nothing is known so far about other possible bidders, although US hedge fund Elliott Management has reportedly made a proposal that would involve offering financing to new bidders or to the Glazers.