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Man Utd invite bidding groups at Old Trafford for takeover talks

Manchester United are expected to hold talks with four bidding groups from this week, according to Matt Lawton of The Times.

Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani is reportedly the ‘favourite’ over Sir Jim Ratcliffe and INEOS, but the Glazers’ £6 billion valuation of United hasn’t been matched by the chairman of Qatar Islamic Bank. Joel Glazer and Avram Glazer don’t want to sell United at all.

Initial offers were made in February and now four bidding groups have been invited into the second round. Lawton says talks between United’s New York bankers (Raine Group) and potential buyers will begin at Old Trafford on Thursday. The Qatari group aren’t expected until next week.

Suitors will assess the stadium and training ground facilities to decide where investment is needed, but it’s worth noting that no group has yet to match the Glazer’s asking price for United.

As per Jamie Jackson of the Guardian in February, Ratcliffe and Sheikh Jassim made offers of £4.5bn, so it could be some time before a deal gets over the line.

Jackson said last month there was hope of United’s takeover being concluded in March, but it’s now expected to be in May. The Glazers haven’t shown any willingness to budge on their valuation but may compromise the longer this drags on.

United are fourth in Deloitte’s Football Money League with a turnover of €688.6m (£613.9m) from 2021/22, which is a 23% rise from the previous year.

However, Matt Slater of The Athletic noted in January that the Red Devils made a pre-tax loss of £115.5m due in part to their rising wage bill and transfer spending.

United will always be an attractive proposition to suitors due to their global brand, but they aren’t in the best financial health amid a potential takeover.