Man Utd takeover: Zilliacus urges Ratcliffe and Sheikh Jassim to ‘split’ £6bn bid ‘into three’

·3-min read
Thomas Zilliacus is interested in buying Man Utd Credit: Alamy
Thomas Zilliacus is interested in buying Man Utd Credit: Alamy

Finnish businessman Thomas Zilliacus has called on Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Sheikh Jassim to “split the cost” of Man Utd “into three”.

The Glazer family are reportedly demanding bids of £6billion if they are to sell up and walk away from the Premier League club after they put Man Utd on the market.

The Man Utd owners 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.

No figures have been revealed, but one or more of the initial bids were reportedly in the region of £4.5billion.

Sheikh Jassim and Ratcliffe both submitted revised bids, reportedly around £5bn, last week after the Glazers opened it up for a second round of offers.

However, it has been reported that the Glazers are still holding out for £6bn with the latest revised bids for the club falling short of their valuation.

And Zilliacus – who is only the third person to make their interest in Man Utd public – has called on Sheikh Jassim and Ratcliffe to work with him to find a solution.

In an interview with the Daily Mirror, Zilliacus said: “I don’t see any reason why I can’t work with Sir Jim and Sheikh Jassim. It makes perfect sense.

“We could agree on a price the Glazers will accept and instead of one of us paying a huge sum to buy United, we split the cost into three. We then use the money we have saved to improve the club and pool our collective expertise to help rebuild the club we all love.

“Someone said to me that you don’t buy a Ferrari and then share it with two other people. But this isn’t an ego trip for me. I don’t think you can ever own an institution like Manchester United – the club belongs to the fans. I would regard myself as a custodian of the club with a responsibility to build and protect it until it is time for me to leave.”

Despite doubts over his wealth, Zilliacus insists he can fund a deal alone, he added: “I know people think I am the outsider in this process and that I don’t have the money because my vision involves allowing fans to buy shares in the club.

“So let me put the record straight – I can raise enough money to buy Manchester United. I know a lot of investors around the world who want to join me in this.

“I have a successful business career behind me and I am wealthy enough to table a serious bid with the backing of other investors through my investment company XXI Century Capital.”

The Man Utd bidder continued: “I haven’t had the same access to financial information that has been granted to the other two bidders so that obviously puts me at a disadvantage.

“There are some details that are publicly available but when it comes to a deal like this you need to see the full picture – and that can only happen if you meet with representatives of the other party.

“That’s the only way to understand how much money it is going to cost to develop the club and then table a bid you feel is fair. I can’t make a bid based only on assumptions.

“Of course, there also has to be some clarity on whether the current owners actually want to sell. Some people who know how the family works have said to me that some of them want to sell and others are against that idea.”

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