Sir Jim Ratcliffe to invest extra £245m into Manchester United – and seal £1.35bn deal this month

Sir Jim Ratcliffe will invest $300 million (£245m) of his private funds into Manchester United this year although the purpose is as yet unclear – other than it will be for infrastructure projects.

It is also expected – as first revealed by Sky News – that the Ineos billionaire’s acquisition of 25 per cent of the club for £1.35 billion will be completed late this month. It is understood that the additional cash injection by Ratcliffe, which will be paid over the next few months, will not be spent on players’ wages or fees.

Additionally, the £245 million will not add to the United debt – accrued by the Glazers over the course of their ownership to finance and refinance their original 2005 takeover – which currently stands at more than £1 billion.

The latest development comes at another low for the club as Erik ten Hag’s second year in charge threatens to unravel. However, many questions remain, not least as to the likely destination of the £1.25 billion that Ratcliffe will pay for his share of the club. There has been no firm indication whether that will go into a potential stadium rebuild, the playing squad or the personal fortunes of the six Glazer siblings who own the club’s main voting shares.

The £245 million is not close enough for a major overhaul of Old Trafford, or indeed a rebuild of the stadium that has been the subject of so much criticism for its dated look and facilities. A comparable project to update the Bernabeu Stadium, and convert it into a multi-use music and NFL arena with a subterranean chamber to store the pitch, has so far cost Real Madrid €1.1 billion with costs spiralling and delays to its completion to contend with.

It may be that the Ratcliffe investment is focused on the Carrington training ground, opened in 1999 and updated in recent years, but not rebuilt in the way that Tottenham, Manchester City and Leicester City have done with their respective training facilities.

Ratcliffe will be aware that this investment will play well with supporters desperate for some good news as United go into a crucial Premier League away game against Fulham on Saturday. He is also understood to want full control of the club’s football operations when the deal for 25 per cent goes through – but as ever with the Glazers communication there has been no clarity on that future.

The Class A shares in the United holding company are listed on the New York Stock Exchange but it is the Class B shares, owned exclusively by the six Glazer siblings that will have to be transferred in part to Ratcliffe when the 25 per cent sale goes through. Whether that is a reduction of all six’s holdings or whether one or more of Joel, Avram, Bryan, Kevin, Edward and Darcie sell all their allocation also remains to be seen.

The siblings who have sold part of their allocations have had them converted into Class A shares which have just one vote to the ten carried by the Class B shares – a carefully calibrated structure that has left the Glazer family in complete control. That will have to be re-ordered for the first time in their 18 years when Ratcliffe’s sale goes through.

Ratcliffe had initially wanted a full buy-out of the club as per cent, as per his erstwhile rival in that regard, the Qatari banking executive Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani. As ever with this painfully slow process, very little has been communicated to fans and media about the Glazers’ strategy, priority or even the dynamics between family members.


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