Why a Man Utd sale to a specific type of investor is the likeliest outcome has been revealed, while two new ‘realistic’ valuations of Liverpool and United have emerged, as well as why they’ve both chosen now to sell.
English football’s two biggest clubs have both determined now is the right time to court a sale. Liverpool’s announcement came first, with early reports claiming they could command upwards of £4billion.
The Glazers trumped FSG soon after, announcing their intention to sell the club they first purchased shares in back in 2003.
They report more ‘realistic’ valuations are £2.75b for Liverpool and £4b for Man Utd. Chelsea were sold for £2.5b earlier in 2022, with the £4.25b figure that’s often touted something of a red herring.
The Blues’ actual sale price was £2.5b. The extra £1.75b that makes up the £4.25b figure stems from promised future investment from Todd Boehly and co.
The current record for a sports club sale is the £3.9b NFL franchise the Denver Broncos were sold to the Walton family in August. £4b for Man Utd would set the new benchmark.
Where will next Man Utd owners come from?
On the subject of who Man Utd’s next owners could be, a vast assortment of potential buyers have been named.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe is a known United fan and is believed to be exploring a bid having failed to acquire Chelsea. Ratcliffe is the UK’s richest man with a reported net worth of around £13.5b, per Forbes.
Dubai have drawn mentions, while the Manchester Evening News put Amancio Ortega in the frame. Ortega owns the Inditex empire that operates fashion chain Zara.
The Daily Star claimed Apple were interested, though that’s since been refuted by CBS Sports’ Ben Jacobs. In his words, Apple have ‘no interest’ in acquiring Manchester United.
Qatar have also been linked and already have influence in football through owning PSG. However, Sky declare they are not a contender for United.
Instead, they shed light on the likeliest place the next owners will emerge from, pointing the finger towards America.
They claim the fact 25 percent of United’s shares are listed on the New York Stock Exchange make it far easier to sell to US-based consortiums.
On that front, it’s noted famous sportspeople with Man Utd connections are expected to be approached to help front up any bids. David Beckham and United fan Rory McIlroy are two examples cited.
What’s sparked Liverpool and Man Utd decisions?
Explaining why Liverpool and Man Utd have determined this is the right time to cash in, Sky’s Melissa Reddy claimed the answer is three-fold.
Chelsea’s £2.5b sale has proved a watershed moment, while the failed European Super League and fears over their ability to compete with state-run clubs like Man City and Newcastle are also significant factors.
“It is in large part sparked by the £4.25bn takeover of Chelsea,” said Reddy.
“Sky Sports News has been told the Glazers and Fenway Sports Group have been advised for months it is a “peak period” for the valuation of top clubs, as told by the fact the west London side commanded such a staggering figure despite a forced sale due to the sanctions on Roman Abramovich.
“It cost £2.5bn to acquire the oligarch’s shares and a binding pledge of £1.75bn of future investment in the club’s stadium, academy, and women’s team, to reach the figure of £4.25bn.
“One US-based source, who has engaged with the Glazers and FSG over financial matters, said the Chelsea sale “moved the dial” for both owners.
“They had been heavily reluctant to consider a sale before “seeing the scope of legitimate interest out there”.
Reddy continued: “Beyond financial circles believing this is prime time to be on the market, the increasing costs of having to compete with state-powered clubs on and off the pitch has also been significant.
“United and Liverpool were driving forces behind the failed European Super League, which would have seen spending on transfer fees and wages capped at a certain percentage of revenue to ‘level the playing field’ with clubs boasting unlimited resources.
“The ESL was also a guarantee of ballooning income, while in its absence, a sale is viewed as the best way to maximise the return on investment.
“United have the added concern of interest rate risk to consider, as well as fan protests and overwhelming unhappiness at their ownership.
“The clubs are also factoring in the bleak global economic forecasts for the next few years.”