Manchester United receive second Qatari bid overnight as takeover battle heats up
A second Qatari bid to buy Manchester United has been submitted, according to widespread reports.
Sheikh Jassim was expected to lodge an improved second-round offer, and so it proved overnight into Saturday. No figures have been confirmed but improved bids are expected to be worth north of £5billion.
The Qatari bid is reportedly the strongest, headed by the chairman of Qatar Islamic Bank and the son of a former Qatari prime minister. Rivals bids are also in Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Finnish businessman Thomas Zilliacus.
The first round of bidding took place last month and it has been reported there are as many as eight separate potential investors.
The Glazers acquired the club for £750million in a highly-leveraged deal in 2005. After a controversial reign, they announced they were seeking "strategic alternatives" that could include a sale last year.
Ratcliffe, who made an unsuccessful bid to buy Chelsea in 2022 and already owns French club Nice, visited Old Trafford last week.
The 70-year-old was born in the Manchester area and is a boyhood United fan. He is one of the richest people in Britain with an estimated personal fortune of £6bn.
Sheikh Jassim has said his interest is a private initiative through his Nine Two Foundation and is not connected to the Qatari state.
His representatives also visited Old Trafford last week for talks, which were understood to be positive and constructive.
Finnish businessman Zilliacus confirmed earlier this week that he has also submitted a bid.
Zilliacus, founder and chairman of investment company Mobile FutureWorks, wants to buy United in a 50-50 partnership with their fans, who will have a say in the decision-making process at the Premier League club.
Until now, little or nothing is known of other potential bidders, while it has been reported that US hedge fund Elliott Management has made a proposal that would involve offering finance to either new bidders or the Glazers.
Additional reporting by Press Association.