Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani is still yet to submit a revised offer to buy amid claims the Qatari bid has ‘gone quiet’ after being granted an extension.
Interested parties were initially given until 9pm on Wednesday to put forward improved, concrete offers to Raine Group – who are marketing the sale on behalf of the Glazer family.
However, both Sheikh Jassim and INEOS founder Sir Jim Ratcliffe asked for more time, with Raine believed to have granted other bidders an extra 48 hours to submit their proposals.
It was initially claimed that the Qatari group had been ready to go in advance of Wednesday’s deadline but simply opted to use the extra time to fine-tune their offer.
But a rumoured deadline of 9pm on Friday has come and gone and still Sheikh Jassim has yet to submit his proposal, despite INEOS and Ratcliffe doing so on Thursday evening.
Raine are not believed to have set a ‘hard’ deadline as such, and the Qatari bid is still expected to arrive either late on Friday night or over the weekend.
However, are reporting that the noises coming out of Sheikh Jassim’s camp have ‘gone quiet’ suddenly – and the process will continue with or without him next week.
Raine and the Glazers have other offers to consider, which they will do across the next week or so, and there could then be a third round or, alternatively, one proposal is selected to be given exclusivity to bid.
Another option, of course, is that the Glazers may not decide not to sell at all and that the process has been used as a means to secure additional funding.
Not all of the interest received so far as been to buy the club outright, with some offers – such as that from US hedge fund Elliot Management – proposing a minority stake or potential financing to other bids.
, meanwhile, claim that Sheikh Jassim might be playing a game of ‘dare’ with the Glazers and Raine, with his delayed bid a power play as the Qatari group effectively set their own timetable by which to bid.
There are suggestions that a number of bidders are increasingly frustrated by the perception that they might be getting ‘played’, and the Glazers may decide not to sell up after all.
So far, rumoured bids have not got close to the family’s £6billion asking price – though that is very much the minimum they expect, with their ideal valuation being closer to £8bn.
Anything in that ballpark would set a new record for a sporting takeover, eclipsing the $4.65bn (£3.8bn) sale of NFL team the Denver Broncos when they were bought by the Walton-Penner group last year.
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