The Glazer family are now targeting a sale of Manchester United before the transfer window opens in June, it is understood.
he aim had been to complete a deal within the first quarter of the year or by the end of April. But the prospect of that appears to be receding and it is thought a sale before the transfer window opens in June is now considered a more realistic time-frame should the Glazers receive an acceptable offer, sources close to the process said.
The Americans want at least £5 billion (€5.6bn) to sell, but it is thought initial offers from Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani and Jim Ratcliffe fall short of that valuation.
Officials from the American hedge fund Elliott Management are understood to have met with counterparts from Raine, the merchant bank running the process, and the Glazers’ financial advisers Rothschild in Manchester on Thursday. Representatives from Elliott were at Old Trafford on Thursday night to watch United beat Real Betis 4-1 in the Europa League.
The discussions marked the start of the second stage of the sale process. Sheikh Jassim’s team and Ratcliffe’s Ineos Group are due to attend detailed presentations at Old Trafford next week.
Sources with knowledge of the process claimed there are at least four parties interested in buying the club, although only Sheikh Jassim and Ratcliffe have gone public with their bids.
The Glazers, whose 18-year ownership of United has been marred by protests and fan fury, remain “determined sellers” at the right price. Bidders will be given access to more detailed financial information and the chance to closer examine Old Trafford and the club’s Carrington training base, both of which require substantial investment.
Elliott is not looking to buy the club like Sheikh Jassim or Ratcliffe, but the US firm is prepared to help to finance a takeover.
Meanwhile, it is expected that TeamViewer will remain as United’s shirt sponsor next season.
United announced in December that they were looking for a new shirt sponsor after agreeing to bring an end to their £235 million (€265m) partnership with the German technology company – which is due to run until 2026.
Yet the timing of that announcement only left United with a small window of opportunity to secure a new sponsor and there is little surprise that TeamViewer is due to remain on next season’s shirts.
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