Who are the Glazer family and what is their net worth? Manchester United sale updates

Avram Glazer watches on as his team Manchester United play  (Ryan Pierse / Getty Images)
Avram Glazer watches on as his team Manchester United play (Ryan Pierse / Getty Images)

The Glazer family could be set to finally hand over control of Manchester United more than a year after putting the club up for sale.

Purchased by the family in 2005 for £790 million, the football club has faced a challenging few years at the hands of the late Malcolm Glazer and his children.

United is currently owned by Malcom's six children; however, the family's management of the club has long been criticised for loading debt onto the club.

This week, however, the United board is set to vote this week after British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe tabled a bid of £ 1.3 billion for a 25 per cent stake.

The offer came after Qatari banker Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani pulled out from buying the club.

The news also comes as the club posted record Premier League figures of £648.4m for the year ending June 30.

Ratcliffe's offer could mark the end of the Glazer family reign at the club; a time that's been overshadowed by controversy over their handling of United.

Last month, shares in Manchester United fell to their lowest point since November, following a report that the Glazer family could remain owners of the club. The claims were rubbished by sports stars such as Gary Neville, who maintained the sale would go through.

Despite recent on-pitch troubles at Old Trafford (the club had not won a trophy for six years until their Carabao Cup success in February 2023), the Red Devils still rank among the most popular and marketable football teams in the world. They have won the English top-flight title a record 20 times and the European Cup three times, among a host of other trophies.

But who are the Glazers and why are they selling United?

Who are the Glazer family?

The Glazers have not been popular owners of Manchester United (Carl Recine / Reuters)
The Glazers have not been popular owners of Manchester United (Carl Recine / Reuters)

Malcolm Glazer was a businessman and owner of a sports franchise in America, who died in 2014.

Born in New York, he started out at his father's watch-parts company aged eight. When he was 15, his father died and he sold watches door-to-door to support his family.

In his later years, Glazer was the owner of United and the National Football League’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was also the president and chief executive of First Allied Corporation, a holding company for his multiple business endeavours.

They sold 10 per cent of their holding via the 2012 US listing and have sold more shares since but retain majority ownership. United’s valuation as a public company peaked at $4.3bn (£3.4bn) in 2018. They were worth $2.5bn (£2.1bn) at the close of US trading recently.

Avram and Joel Glazer watch a training session (Michael Regan / Getty Images)
Avram and Joel Glazer watch a training session (Michael Regan / Getty Images)

What is their net worth?

Forbes estimates the family’s worth at £3.9 billion.

What does the Glazer family own?

Glazer’s six children – Avram, Bryan, Darcie, Edward, Joel, and Kevin – own United after he acquired the bulk of the club’s shares through the investment firm Red Football Ltd in 2005.

The six Glazer children each received an equal share of their father’s 90 per cent controlling stake after he died of a protracted illness.

Since their late father's stroke in April 2006, Joel and Avram have been in charge of overseeing the day-to-day operations of the club. They are co-chairmen and Bryan, Darcie, Edward, and Kevin serve as directors.

Avram Glazer offered shares worth £70 million for sale in March 2021.

Why does the family want to sell Manchester United?

The Glazers are selling United because of debt. The club was debt-free when the Glazers took ownership in 2005. However, the purchase agreement recommended by former executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward is said to have added more than £500 million in debt to the company.

To the dismay of fans, Malcolm Glazer used a leveraged buyout scheme to finance a large portion of the takeover rather than using his own funds.

This entails borrowing funds against a future asset to purchase that item; in this example, interest payments total more than £60 million annually.

It has been widely claimed that the buyout has cost the club more than £1 billion in interest and other expenses over the years.

Due to the Covid-19 epidemic, the club's debt had increased by 133 per cent to £474 million by the end of 2020.

Since 2015, the club has paid an annual dividend, most of which goes to the Glazers, and the company's tax registration was transferred from Old Trafford to the Cayman Islands in 2012.

The club's 2018–19 financial statements included dividends totalling £23 million. The six Glazer siblings apparently shared about £18 million of this.

Club income has more than doubled since 2005 and United was ranked the third-most-valuable football club in the world by Forbes last May. This was largely due to the significant and diversified commercial partnerships inked under the Glazers.

The club was fourth in the 2023 Deloitte Football Money League, an annual profile of the highest revenue-generating clubs in world football, behind Liverpool, Real Madrid and Manchester City.

Despite a tumultuous few years, the latest postings revealed record revenue for United, beating their previous record which was set in 2019.