Premier League approves Jim Ratcliffe’s proposed bid to buy minority stake in Manchester United

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INEOS Sport CEO Sir Jim Ratcliffe in the stands during a Premier League match between Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur, at Old Trafford, in Manchester, England, on Jan. 14.Martin Rickett/The Associated Press

The Premier League has approved Jim Ratcliffe’s proposed bid to buy a minority stake in Manchester United, the club said.

In a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday, United said it had already been granted approval under its rules over who is allowed to be an owner or director of a soccer club. It also said it expected clearance from the Football Association as British billionaire Ratcliffe closes in on completion of his deal to buy 25 per cent of the club.

League rules disqualify people from becoming owners or directors for reasons such as criminal convictions, sporting bans or involvement in other clubs.

Ratcliffe is one of Britain’s richest people and the owner of petrochemicals giant INEOS. He agreed a deal to buy a stake in United in December and on Monday the deadline for completion was extended from Feb. 14 to Feb. 17.

As part of the deal, Racliffe’s INEOS Sport division will take over control of United’s soccer operation after more than a decade since it won the Premier League title and consistent decline in its on-field performance.

The 71-year-old Ratcliffe was a boyhood United fan and last month described his proposed investment as the most exciting deal he has in his career.

“I have done a few exciting things, but there is no question (about that),” he said.

Ratcliffe has paid $1.3-billion for “up to 25 per cent” of the club and will invest a further $300-million for “future investment into Old Trafford,” United has said.

Ratcliffe will provide $200-million upon completion of the deal and a further $100-million by the end of 2024. That additional investment will eventually take Ratcliffe’s stake up to 29 per cent. Owners, the Glazer family, will have a 49 per cent stake under the deal.

Under the filing, more details were provided about Ratcliffe’s personal wealth which said his “liquid assets (primarily consisting of cash and readily marketable securities) were in excess of $4-billion.”

It said his net worth was “significantly in excess of those liquid assets”.

Shareholders must respond before 23:59 ET to tender their shares, United said.

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