Blue sky over the stadium during the English FA Cup quarter-final football match between Manchester United and Fulham at Old Trafford in Manchester, north-west England, on March 19, 2023. AFP
The deadline for the latest round of bids had been set for 9 p.m. Wednesday, but American merchant bank Raine has agreed to an unspecified extension to allow interested parties to fine-tune their proposals.
A person with knowledge of the process confirmed the extension. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment publicly.
Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani has outlined his intention to make a second offer for United and British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe is also expected to bid, although neither met Wednesday's deadline. Both submitted indicative offers last month.
Sheikh Jassim, the chairman of Qatar Islamic Bank, has said he wants to return the club to the summit of the sport if he is successful in buying out current owners, the Glazer family.
His latest bid is ready and will be made to Raine, another person with knowledge of the process said. The person also spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment publicly.
United is expected to become the most expensive sports team in history, with the price estimated to reach up to $6 billion.
Sheikh Jassim and Ratcliffe are the only contenders to have publicly declared their intention to buy the 20-time English league champions.
Sheikh Jassim, the son of a former Qatari prime minister, sent a delegation to Manchester last week to meet with United executives.
Ratcliffe, owner of petrochemicals giant INEOS, also held meetings with United last week.
Sheikh Jassim is said to be confident in his bid to buy 100% of the club and plans to invest in the stadium, training ground and playing squads.
Ratcliffe has spoken of his intention to take a “fan centered” approach to ownership, adding that he is focused on United winning the Champions League for the first time since 2008.
He is bidding for a majority ownership.
Last year, Raine handled the sale of Chelsea to Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital for about $3 billion. The Denver Broncos were also sold last year to Walmart heir Rob Walton and his daughter and son-in-law for a record $4.65 billion.
The Glazers announced in November that they were exploring “strategic alternatives.” It is not certain they will cede total control of the club they have owned since 2005, with minority investment also a possibility.
(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)