football

Man Utd and Sir Jim Ratcliffe get Premier League and FA approval over deal to buy 25 per cent of the club

The Football Association has approved Sir Jim Ratcliffe's purchase of a 25 per cent stake in Manchester United.

Confirmation that the Premier League had given its backing to the deal was contained within an update to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Monday evening.

A further SEC update published on Wednesday afternoon confirmed that approval from the FA has been granted as completion edges closer, while the Barclays Women's Super League and Barclays Women's Championship board have also approved the acquisition.

Within an amended tender offer statement published on Wednesday afternoon came confirmation that the national governing body's approval "has already been obtained".

The green light from the FA is one of the last remaining steps but the deal cannot be completed until the tender offer for Class A shares is finalised.

The period in which holders of Class A shares can tender them for sale has been extended from February 14 until 23:59 on February 16.

Sky Sports News chief reporter Kaveh Solhekol:

"This news is significant because it was one of the hurdles that he needed to clear before his deal to buy a quarter of Manchester United was rubber-stamped.

"It was a formality but it is important it has been announced. On Tuesday, it was approved by the Premier League as well.

"He has already agreed a deal with the Glazer family to buy 25 per cent of their shares.

"So, the final thing he needs to do is agree deals to buy 25 per cent of the United shares that are traded on the New York Stock Exchange, and that should be done by the end of this week.

"It will then be basically a done deal and should be announced early next week."

In a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday, United said it had already been granted approval under Premier League rules over who is allowed to be an owner or director of a football club.

The Premier League later provided confirmation in a statement of its approval of his minority stake as well as the $300m (£238m) investment in the club, and said it now awaited the transaction's overall completion.

It added: "The board agreed to the change of the club's ownership structure last week, and this has now been officially ratified by an Independent Oversight Panel.

"This is the first acquisition of control to be reviewed and approved by such a panel following changes to the process which were agreed by Premier League clubs in March 2023."

British billionaire Ratcliffe, who is the owner of multinational chemicals company INEOS, is now closing in on completion of his deal to buy 25 per cent of the club.

Ratcliffe agreed a deal to buy a stake in United in December and his tender offer for 25 per cent of the Class A shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange has been extended until midnight on Friday night.

The offer, which is part of Ratcliffe's deal to become the minority owner of Manchester United, was originally due to expire at midnight on Tuesday.

It was announced on Christmas Eve that the INEOS chairman had agreed to buy a 25 per cent stake in the Premier League club in a deal that included the $300million investment in the club's infrastructure.

As well as buying Class B shares held by the Glazer family, the announcement confirmed that Ratcliffe would offer to acquire up to 25 per cent of all Class A shares at a price of $33 (£26) per share.

Ratcliffe will provide $200m upon completion of the deal and a further $100m by the end of 2024. That additional investment will eventually take Ratcliffe's stake up to 29 per cent. Owners, the Glazer family, will have a 49% stake under the deal

As part of the deal, Ratcliffe's INEOS Sport division will take over control of United's football operations after more than a decade since the club won the Premier League title.

Ratcliffe has already conducted a series of meetings with club staff and associates in recent days.

He has met leaders of the independent Manchester United Supporters' Trust and spoken with local leaders, including senior representatives of Trafford Council, and Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham.

He was also among those in attendance at the Munich Air Disaster memorial last week.

Ratcliffe is reportedly already planning to lead an overhaul of United's playing squad.

The 71-year-old was a boyhood United fan and last month described his proposed investment as the most exciting deal he has done in his career.

"I have done a few exciting things, but there is no question (about that)," he said.

Under the filing, more details were provided about Ratcliffe's personal wealth which said his "liquid assets (primarily consisting of cash and readily marketable securities) were in excess of $4bn. It said his net worth was "significantly in excess of those liquid assets".

Manchester United are planning to make a formal approach to Newcastle for sporting director Dan Ashworth.

It is understood the Newcastle chief is top of Ratcliffe's list to front up his new football operation at Old Trafford, although no formal approach has yet been made.

Newcastle would be reluctant to let Ashworth leave but the 52-year-old is privately open to exploring the potential opportunity to join Man Utd.

Newcastle are bracing themselves for a formal approach, but agreeing compensation to secure Ashworth's services would be problematic after he only joined Newcastle two years ago.

Man Utd would ideally want him in place this summer to oversee their transfer overhaul as INEOS take control over the football operation.

You can now start receiving messages and alerts for the latest breaking sports news, analysis, in-depth features and videos from our dedicated WhatsApp channel!

Find out more here...