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British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe takes 25% stake in Manchester United, promises return to football glory

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In a monumental deal worth approximately $1.3 billion, British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe has secured a 25 percent stake in Manchester United, with ambitious plans to elevate the Premier League club to the “top of world football.”

The agreement also marks the end of the Glazer family’s control over football operations, as Ratcliffe’s INEOS company steps in to revitalize the club after years of underachievement.

Ratcliffe, the 71-year-old chairman of the global chemicals giant INEOS, expressed his commitment to the club’s success, emphasizing a long-term vision.

Having grown up in the Manchester region and identifying as a lifelong supporter, Ratcliffe aims to leverage the expertise of the wider INEOS Sport group in this transformative venture.

“The joint ambition is to create a world-class football operation building on the club’s many existing strengths,” the club stated in a Christmas Eve announcement.

Ratcliffe’s proposal values Manchester United at $33 a share, and he is set to acquire 25 percent of Class B shares from the Glazer family, along with up to 25 percent of Class A shares traded in New York.

The deal includes a significant financial commitment for future investments, earmarking $300 million specifically for the overhaul of Manchester United’s iconic but outdated Old Trafford stadium.

Ratcliffe’s influence is expected to extend beyond ownership, with Dave Brailsford, former performance director of British Cycling and current INEOS director of sport, playing a key role.

As part of the broader INEOS group, which already owns French Ligue 1 club Nice, Swiss side Lausanne-Sport, and the INEOS Grenadiers cycling team, Ratcliffe brings a wealth of commercial experience to the club.

The executive co-chairmen and directors of Manchester United, Avram Glazer and Joel Glazer, noted the valuable commercial expertise that Ratcliffe and INEOS bring to the table.

Despite the optimism surrounding the deal, Manchester United fans, represented by the Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST), expressed “mixed feelings.”

While welcoming the investment from Ratcliffe and INEOS, many fans wished for a greater ownership stake to truly break away from the Glazers’ era of “debt, decay, and mismanagement.”

The completion of the deal is contingent on customary regulatory approvals, and the club is “hopeful it will be completed as soon as possible.”

As the football world eagerly awaits this transformative change, the eyes of fans and pundits alike will be on Ratcliffe’s vision for restoring Manchester United to its former glory.

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