Qatar get Whitehall push ahead of Manchester United takeover deadline day

Qatar's takeover of Manchester United won't be blocked by Whitehall if final bid goes through - Getty Images/Christopher Furlong

Qatar’s takeover of Manchester United won’t be blocked by Whitehall if final bid goes through – Getty Images/Christopher Furlong

Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani presents his third and final bid for Manchester United on Friday, backed by fresh assurances that the government will not block a Qatari takeover at Old Trafford.

If the Glazers finally green light their bid for 100% control, multiple Whitehall sources insist the only remaining hurdle will be tightening the test for Premier League directors and owners.

Insiders say the Qatari group remains the most likely bid to succeed in the event of a full sale. However, as New York brokers Raine receive a third round of offers by 10pm Friday, another contender, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, appears to be preparing a more flexible offer, which could allow Avram and Joel Glazer to keep a minority share. Ineos declined to comment, citing non-disclosure agreements with Raine, but it is believed Ratcliffe’s proposal would see a controlling stake of just over 50%, with around 20% remaining in Avram and Joel’s hands.

This could prove to be a tough sell for United supporters, who have increasingly agitated for the Glazers to sell out completely. Sheikh Jassim, meanwhile, remains committed to a debt-free purchase. With a potential deal entering its finalization stage, a senior Whitehall figure stressed that the process has “nothing to do with [the] Government and we are not involved ”.

“It’s a matter for the Premier League,” the source added. The world’s richest domestic football competition recently tightened its tests for those who own and manage clubs, introducing a new human rights element.

Last month, Politico quoted a senior UK trade envoy as saying, in response to Qatar’s offer, that Britain should “absolutely embrace foreign investment into this country from the Middle East, both in football and green energy”.

United had hoped to complete the ongoing process – one way or another – by the end of this month, but that now seems impossible. When the club announced a “strategic review” last November, it was said the Glazers would consider all options, including “new investment in the club, a sale or other transaction involving the company”.

Much of the attention has focused on the only two parties proposing a full takeover, but a number of US-based investment funds, including Elliott Management, The Carlyle Group, Ares Management and Sixth Street Partners, have registered interest in acquiring a minority interest in the club and/or providing financing.

It is believed that £5 billion in bids have already been made in the second round of bids, which would wipe out the current record purchase of a sports team following the sale of the Denver Broncos American football franchise for £3.8 billion last week. Last year.

But the Glazers were looking to sell for as much as £6bn, and it remains to be seen whether any of the upcoming deals will be enough to persuade Americans to end their 18-year reign.

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