REVEALED: The reason the Glazers refused to sell Man United to Sheikh Jassim, despite


Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani never proved he could fund his bid to buy Manchester United, according to documents submitted to American authorities.

United and Sir Jim Ratcliffe announced on Christmas Eve he had agreed a £1.3billion deal to acquire a minority stake in the club after 13 months of negotiations.

And according to a new filing on the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) released on Wednesday evening, Sheikh Jassim repeatedly failed to provide the source of his funding. 

The complicated and dragged out nature of United’s sale process is charted in the SEC filings and reveal the Glazers also offered him the chance to purchase United in May last year for $5.76bn (£4.55 billion). 

From the moment the Glazers family announced they would listen to offers for the club as part of a ‘strategic review process’ back in November 2022, the Qatari consortium and INEOS boss Ratcliffe emerged as the two front-runners to take over at Old Trafford.

Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani never proved he had sufficient proof he could find his bid to buy Manchester United, according to official documents

Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani never proved he had sufficient proof he could find his bid to buy Manchester United, according to official documents

The Qatari consortium made five bids to take control of the club, before withdrawing from the process on October 15 last year

The Qatari consortium made five bids to take control of the club, before withdrawing from the process on October 15 last year

Sheikh Jassim tabled five separate bids for the full control of the club, but withdrew the offer in October after growing increasingly frustrated with the process.

His last offer of £5.5billion fell short of the £6bn the Americans are thought to want and opened the door for Ratcliffe to complete a deal for a 29 per cent stake in the club subject to regulatory approval next month.

Unlike Ratcliffe’s deal to purchase a minority stake, Sheikh Jassim’s bid was for 100 percent of the club and would see the Qatari consortium buy out the Glazers and all other shareholders. 

Sheikh Jassim also pledged to invest around £1bn on either redeveloping Old Trafford or building a new stadium, along with transforming United’s training facility. 

The proposal raised questions over whether Sheikh Jassim, the chairman of the Qatar Islamic Bank, would have the required funding to finance the deal.

Sources close to him have always maintained his proposed deal was being funded in a personal capacity and dismissed the rumours he was a frontman for a bid funded by the Qatari state – whose sovereign wealth fund controls an estimated £370billion worth of assets.

And according to the SEC filings, the prospect of Sheikh Jassim, who is referred to as ‘Bidder A’, taking control of United never looked likely.

As part of the Schedule 14D‑9 ­filing, which articulates a business’s response to a takeover offer, United said Bidder A failed repeatedly to submit the ‘customary financing commitment letters’.

The Glazer family launched a strategic review of United in November 2022, inviting interested parties to present their bids

The Glazer family launched a strategic review of United in November 2022, inviting interested parties to present their bids

Sheikh Jassim repeatedly failed to provide proof of where his funding would come from

Sheikh Jassim repeatedly failed to provide proof of where his funding would come from

Sir Jim Ratcliffe completed a £1.3bn deal for a 29 percent stake in the club on December 24

Sir Jim Ratcliffe completed a £1.3bn deal for a 29 percent stake in the club on December 24

By February 17 last year – the deadline for an initial indication of interest – Sheikh Jassim submitted a deal worth $25 per share that valued United at $4.1bn (£3.2bn).

The SEC filing states the proposal ‘did not include customary financing commitment letters’. 

The following month, United informal Sheikh Jassim a new improved bid worth $28 per share ‘did not provide the shareholders with sufficient value’.

By late April last year, the Qatari consortium increased their offer to $28.54 per share. 

On May 16, Sheikh Jassim submitted a new bid worth $30.01 per share, which valued United at $4.9bn (£3.9bn), excluding the club’s existing debt. 

SEC filings shows Bidder A again failed to provide evidence of the funding, before the Glazers presented a counter offer of their own six days later.

United’s American owners indicated they would consider ‘a price of $35.25 per ordinary share’, which would have valued the club at $5.7bn (£4.5bn).

On May 25, the club noted it would ‘require Bidder A to provide sufficient evidence of its sources of financing that would be required to consummate such a transaction.’

The Qatari consortium made a new offer on June 1, tabling his bid directly to the Glazers and Raine Group – which were appointed as exclusive financial advisors to oversee the process along with Rothschild and Co.

Investment in United's ageing infrastructure has been at the forefront of the bidding

Investment in United’s ageing infrastructure has been at the forefront of the bidding 

Ratcliffe has pledged to invest £237m to improve the facilities at Old Trafford

Ratcliffe has pledged to invest £237m to improve the facilities at Old Trafford 

The bid valued Class A shares at $24.81 – $5.20 less than the bid submitted two weeks earlier – and Class B share at $34. Class B shares hold 10 times the voting rights of the Class A shares.

‘Again, this revised offer did not provide customary financing commitment letters,’ the SEC filings states.

United board of directors eventually informed Sheikh Jassim he must provide ‘sufficient evidence of the financing and cus­tomary financing ­commitment papers’ if negotiations were to continue.

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Sheikh Jassim never provided the required guarantees and eventually withdrew from the process on 15 October. 

By then, Ratcliffe had abandoned plans for a complete takeover in favour of acquiring a minority stake in a deal that valued both Class A and B shares at $33 per share.

The £1.3bn deal also included the commitment of £237m in additional investment into the club. 

Significantly, according to SEC filings, the INEOS boss provided updated financing commitment letters to support throughout the process.



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