SIR JIM RATCLIFFE could be at risk of having to sell his 25 per cent stake in Manchester United in just 18 months.
Ratcliffe, who watched United’s draw with Tottenham on Sunday alongside Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford, has now officially submitted his offer for a share of the Red Devils and it is expected to be finalised by mid-February.
The move was officially put forward on the New York Stock exchange on Wednesday.
However, a tender document has now revealed a number of rules on a future sale of the Premier League giants.
A separate filing on the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) reveals that the Glazer family are not allowed to either solicit or even encourage any new offers for the first year after the tender offer is completed on February 13 – unless they have written consent of Ratcliffe’s Trawler Ltd company.
But once the first 18 month period has passed, the much-maligned Americans can sell United outright – and that would FORCE Ratcliffe’s Trawlers Ltd company to sell up every share they have to any potential new buyer.
The tender document explains the “drag-along right” for the Glazers, stating: “For so long as the Glazer parties are the majority holder, following the date that is 18 months after the closing date and in connection with any sale of the entire company, the Company Board may require the Trawlers party to sell all of their company ordinary shares and take such other actions as are reasonably necessary to effect the full sale.”
It does also ensure that Ratcliffe will be guaranteed the equal amount “as the highest amount paid to any other shareholder of the same class of shares”.
The document says: “If the sale occurs within three years of the closing of the offer, the Trawlers parties must receive at least $33 per share, which is the same price as the offer price.”
Meanwhile, Ratcliffe has written to the Manchester United Supporters Trust and promised to do everything possible to bring the glory days.
His statement said: “I wanted to write to you at this time given the critical role of the fans to the future of Manchester United as we recognise our responsibility as custodians of the club on your behalf.
“I believe we can bring sporting success on the pitch to complement the undoubted commercial success the club has enjoyed.
“It will require time and patience alongside rigour and the highest level of professional management.
“You are ambitious for Man Utd and so are we. There are no guarantees in sport, and change can inevitably take time but we are in it for the long-term and together we want to help take Man Utd back to where it belongs, at the very top of English European and world football. I take that responsibility very seriously.
“Please note that, as with any deal, it is subject to the usual regulatory sign-off process and therefore we do not expect to speak publicly about club matters until after the deal has completed.”
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