A source close to Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani said Thursday that the Qatari bidders were still awaiting clarity from Manchester United after a report suggested they could be offered exclusivity in the battle to buy the club.
United announced in November that the board was exploring “strategic alternatives to enhance the club’s growth”, with a full sale one of the options.
The current owners, the Glazer family, are understood to value United at £6 billion ($7.6 billion) and the Raine Group was brought in to oversee the process.
Sheikh Jassim made a fifth and final bid for the club last week and it is understood that his offer is viewed more favourably by the owners than a rival bid from British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe.
A report on Thursday suggested that, if exclusivity were granted to Sheikh Jassim, it would shut out the Ratcliffe bid for as long as the exclusivity period lasted.
But the source close to the bid told AFP there were no official updates from Sheikh Jassim’s side and no timetable for next steps.
The offer from the Qatari banker is to buy 100 percent of the club.
It has been reported that Ratcliffe wants to purchase a controlling stake that would allow the Glazers to remain involved — a move that would be deeply unpopular with supporters.
Trading in Manchester United shares on the New York Stock Exchange was temporarily paused due to “volatility,” though shares resumed trading shortly afterwards, and were up 12 per cent on the day.
A new company, Nine Two UK Holdings Limited, was also incorporated in Britain on Thursday, understood to be part of Sheikh Jassim’s preparations should his bid be successful.
The documents published on the Companies House website list Sheikh Jassim as an individual person with significant control of the company.
Companies House says all shares in the new UK company are owned by Nine Two Holdings LLC, which was registered in Qatar in April.
INEOS chemical company founder Ratcliffe appeared to be the front runner to win the race to buy United after a third round of bidding closed in late April.
The club ended a six-year trophy drought by winning the League Cup in February and finished third in the Premier League in Erik ten Hag’s first season in charge.
The long ownership saga means there is an air of uncertainty over the future of the club as they prepare for the summer transfer window.
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