Sir Jim Ratcliffe may reportedly be forced to sell his 25 per cent stake in Manchester United within 18 months of his part takeover. The British billionaire was announced as a new minority shareholder of the club on Christmas Eve after submitting a £1.3billion bid.
But according to documents obtained by The Times, the Glazers are able to sell the club outright in 18 months’ time provided they are still the majority owners at that time. Currently, the American family maintain a 69 per cent stake in United.
Ratcliffe may have the right to first refusal – and written consent from Trawler LTD, the company he used to buy his share, is required for the Glazers to instigate a sale within a year of the INEOS’ chief’s takeover being completed. However, the Glazers are free to negotiate with other potential suitors who could outbid Ratcliffe for their shareholding once 18 months has passed.
It remains the INEOS owner’s main goal to become the majority owner of Man Utd but that will prove to be difficult if the Glazers receive a better offer from elsewhere.
A separate filing on the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) explains: “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.”
The tender document also states that Ratcliffe will be guaranteed the equal amount “as the highest amount paid to any other shareholder of the same class of shares”.
It adds: “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.”
Ratcliffe has a monumental task on his hands if he is to ‘return the Red Devils back to their glory days’ as he put it in a letter to the Manchester United Supporters Trust last month. They currently sit seventh in the Premier League at the time of writing while they have already been dumped out of the Champions League and League Cup. This promise will prove to be even harder to fulfil if his time at Old Trafford is cut short.