Manchester United, one of the world’s most valuable soccer teams, is about to go up for auction as its American owners prepare to accept bids for a potential sale, the team announced Tuesday.
Members of the Glazer family, who have owned the team for nearly two decades, have hired a financial adviser to investigate the full or partial sale, the club said. The Glazers, who also own the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, paid $939 million for Manchester United in 2005.
The Glazers are seeking new investment in the team to help with stadium upgrades and business expansion, Manchester United have said. The club’s management will “consider all strategic alternatives, including new investment in the club, sale or other deals,” the statement said.
“We will evaluate all options to ensure we best serve our fans and that Manchester United maximizes the significant growth opportunities available to the club today and in the future,” Avram Glazer and Joel Glazer said in a statement. “During this process, we will remain fully focused on the best interests of our fans, shareholders and various stakeholders.”
It is unclear what price the Glazers will ask for United. Forbes values club for $4.6 billion. Manchester United, whose shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange, had a $2.4 billion market on Tuesday. The team’s share price rose 15% to $14.94 on Tuesday.
In the 2020-21 season, Manchester United generated revenues of approximately $572 million, ranking them 5th in the world among professional clubs according to data Deloitte. Premier League arch-rivals Manchester City topped the consulting firm’s list with revenues of $661m.
In May, a consortium of investors led by American businessman Todd Boehly struck offer to buy Chelsea FCwhich like Manchester United competes in the Premier League, up to $4.9 billion.
Ronaldo is leaving
The news of a potential sale to United came just hours after Cristiano Ronaldo terminated his contract with the club. His contract was due to expire at the end of this season but he will now start looking for his fourth club in just over four years.
“Cristiano Ronaldo is to leave Manchester United by mutual consent, effective immediately,” the club said He said in a statement. “The club thanks him for his tremendous contribution over two spells at Old Trafford, scoring 145 goals in 346 appearances, and wishes him and his family all the best for the future.”
The record goalscorer in men’s international football rejected a new bid from the Saudi Arabian club this year but CBS Sports reported in the summer that a rival suitor at home could be interested in his services if he left Manchester United.
The sale would be a welcome change for many Man United fans who have become bitter about the ownership of the Glazers. The famous club has not won the Premier League title since 2013.
Several billionaires are expected to line up as potential candidates to buy the club. One wealthy person has already withdrawn from the run. Jim Ratcliffe, owner of British chemical company INEOS, said earlier this month he would not be bidding on the team, the Associated Press reported.
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