Man Utd takeover latest: Twist emerges over withdrawn offers as two main suitors grow wary of real Glazers’ stance

Old Trafford Stadium

The takeover over Manchester United took another twist on Wednesday night after the deadline for new offers was pushed back to Friday, but TEAMtalk has learned what really went down in the latest round of talks.

The proposed takeover of the club was reportedly plunged into chaos on Wednesday evening following a late decision to extend the 9pm deadline for fresh bids until the same time on Friday.

It’s claimed that Qatari banker Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani initially made an improved world-record offer of around £5billion to buy the Premier League giants from the Glazer family.

However, a report in The Sun stated that he then withdrew that offer. It comes after deal organisers Raine Group were said to have pushed back the deadline by 48 hours, with a revised bid now expected.

Britain’s richest man Sir Jim Ratcliffe was also ready to submit his offer, also thought to be in the region of £5bn before the deadline changed.

But TEAMtalk has since learned that it was the bidders themselves who asked for longer to consider their plans and not Raine Group delaying the process.

Ben Jacobs revealed: “It was a dramatic night in the Manchester United sale process. There was a deadline of 9pm UK time for all groups still in the process to place their second offers, and many groups did.

“But both sir Jim Ratcliffe and Sheikh Jasim, the two known outright bidders failed to meet that deadline. And there were conflicting reports as to why from inside the process, which made it a relatively complicated and unexpected night.

“So both groups were given an extension. And the key question is why and who asked for it. And my understanding is that Raine Group, who are handling this process did not alter any deadlines, or tell suitors that there was to be an extension.

“It was actually Sheikh Jassim and Ratcliffe who requested extra time. And in the bigger picture doesn’t change a great deal.

“The groups are still expected to get in those second offers, which will be improved by the end of this week. And the drama, I suppose, was down to the fact that originally both Sheikh Jassim and Sir Jim Radcliffe’s people, or those close to them, had confirmed that the bids had gone in as planned.

“And then, about half an hour after the deadline, things changed. And this can be construed as insignificant in the wider picture, because the bids will go in. They’re not out of the process. And then things will continue on the same roadmap.

Cunning plan emerges for bidding process

“But where it is significant is why would you need an extension. And logically it could be in the interests of any suitor just to delay to try and see how others move.

“So we could put this down to gamesmanship. Or a simple explanation might just be that it’s a lot of work in an extremely short period of time, post the meetings that took place in Manchester last week to get in a bid. And because it’s unknown if the next stage in the process will have multiple bidders, or only one singular preferred group.

“In a period of exclusivity, the suitors involved have to put a competitive number forward, knowing that they’re not 100% guaranteed to get another round.

“So even though it’s deemed at this stage, to be likely that there will be another stage of bidding with more than one group, there remains that potential that only one group is going to be put through next.

“And as a result, you need to get the second offer, right. And that might also be a reason why more time was requested.

“But even though there are differing accounts from those familiar with the process, my understanding is that it was not Raine group that changed anything.

“The 22nd of March deadline was very much known by all the groups and it didn’t alter. And evidence of that is the fact that lots of groups did put in their bids on time.

“And let’s not forget that there’s more than only sir Jim Ratcliffe and Sheikh Jassim in this process.

“So if there was a blanket extension, then you would expect all of the groups involved to want to take that. And the fact that it’s only Sheikh Jassim and Jim Ratcliffe, to my knowledge anyway, that failed to meet that deadline, and instead requested an extension – it tells you that this is at the suitor end, not the seller and.

“And as I’ve outlined, there’s a variety of reasons why they would request more time. So although it created confusion, the process remains on track.

“It’s expected that before the month is out that there will be clarity around the next stage in this process. And that’s highly significant because who the Glazers put through next will show their hand. If there’s one outright bidder, it will become categorically clear that they want to sell all of their 69% stake in the club.

“If it’s one minority one outright, then they’re obviously still undecided. If it’s only a minority investor, or if nobody gets put through them, we know that they want to stay at the club.

“So this whole process has been about the suitors pitching and trying to get to a valuation that they think is competitive.

“And now there’s a confidence amongst suitors that they’re at that point. But ultimately, the ball shifts into the Glazers court now. And regardless of what the groups think, who the Glazers put through next will be the first really clear indication as to whether they want to stay or go.”

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