The Glazer family have confirmed that is up for sale.
United’s American owners have instructed investment bankers to advise on the process, which could result in a full sale of the club and end their 17-year reign at Old Trafford.
A statement from United on Tuesday evening read: ‘Manchester United plc (NYSE:MANU), one of the most successful and historic sports clubs in the world, announces today that the Company’s Board of Directors (the “Board”) is commencing a process to explore strategic alternatives for the club.
‘The process is designed to enhance the club’s future growth, with the ultimate goal of positioning the club to capitalize on opportunities both on the pitch and commercially.
‘As part of this process, the Board will consider all strategic alternatives, including new investment into the club, a sale, or other transactions involving the Company. This will include an assessment of several initiatives to strengthen the club, including stadium and infrastructure redevelopment, and expansion of the club’s commercial operations on a global scale, each in the context of enhancing the long-term success of the club’s men’s, women’s and academy teams, and bringing benefits to fans and other stakeholders.’
‘There can be no assurance that the review being undertaken will result in any transaction involving the Company. Manchester United does not intend to make further announcements regarding the review unless and until the Board has approved a specific transaction or other course of action requiring a formal announcement.’
United’s owners, Avram Glazer and Joel Glazer said: ‘The strength of Manchester United rests on the passion and loyalty of our global community of 1.1 billion fans and followers.
‘As we seek to continue building on the club’s history of success, the Board has authorized a thorough evaluation of strategic alternatives.
‘We will evaluate all options to ensure that we best serve our fans and that Manchester United maximizes the significant growth opportunities available to the club today and in the future. Throughout this process we will remain fully focused on serving the best interests of our fans, shareholders, and various stakeholders.’
The Glazer family took control of United in 2005 in a deal which saddled the club with £660 million of debt. Before the takeover, United were debt free but that figure currently stands at £514.9m.
United’s supporters have staged multiple protests against the Glazers during their 17-year reign and have frequently raised concerns over the lack of investment at the club during their ownership.
The chant ‘Love United, hate Glazers’ is also regularly sung by United fans during games at Old Trafford.
According to reports last month, the Glazers are demanding £9 billion in order to sell United.
In May, Chelsea were sold by Roman Abramovich to a group led by American businessman Todd Boehly and investment firm Clearlake Capital for £4.25bn.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe could now explore the possibility of a move for United after his failed attempt to purchase Chelsea earlier this year.
The British billionaire, who is a United supporter, claimed in October that he would have put forward a proposal in the summer if the Glazers wanted to sell.
‘I’m a lifelong Manchester United fan. I was there in 1999 for the most remarkable match of all time in Barcelona. So, you know, the club is deeply etched in my mind,’ Ratcliffe said.
‘But Manchester United is owned by the Glazer family. I have met Joel and Avram, who are the nicest people, proper gentlemen, and they don’t want to sell.
‘The club is owned by the six children of the father, Malcolm, and they don’t want to sell it.
‘If it had been for sale in the summer, yes, we would probably have had a go, following on from the Chelsea thing.
‘But we can’t sit around hoping that one day United will become available.’
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