Qatari Sheikh, Sir Jim Ratcliffe and third bidding party are told to attend Old Trafford for talks as Manchester United sale moves into second stage – but suitors are growing frustrated over lack of access to club’s elusive financial picture
Bidders for Manchester United – including the Qatari group – have been summoned to Old Trafford for meetings in the next fortnight.
Sportsmail understands that a number of summits will take place between those now through to the second stage of the process, merchant bankers Raine who are overseeing negotiations and United top brass.
Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani, who wants total control of the club, has been asked to head to Manchester, along with Sir Jim Ratcliffe, the British billionaire who wants a majority stake.
A third, as yet unnamed group, is also thought to have been asked to attend.
Despite the development, which comes a fortnight after bids were submitted, there is a growing frustration amid some of those involved at a continuing lack of access to United’s full financial picture.
Bidders for Manchester United have been invited to Old Trafford for meetings over the next fortnight
Britain’s richest man Sir Jim Ratcliffe is hoping to turn the club ‘back into the number one team in the world’
At the first stage, those who expressed an interest were provided with entry to a data room, in exchange for signing confidentiality agreements.
The information gleaned there, however, is not thought to be sufficient to form a comprehensive view of the club’s accounts.
An independent assessment of Old Trafford, and how much it would cost to redevelop United’s iconic home or rebuild it, is needed, along with a similar report on the club’s Carrington training ground, which is in need of an upgrade. Estimates for an Old Trafford revamp are between £1bn and £2bn
It is thought that a number of senior figures from United, including chief financial officer Cliff Baty and chief executive Richard Arnold, will be present at the meetings, along with officials from New York-based Raine.
The Glazer family are looking to sell the Red Devils in what would be the biggest deal in history
Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad bin Jaber Al Thani intends to fund his bid to buy United without debt
Estimates for a renovation of Old Trafford are currently between £1billion and £2billion
It is not yet known whether any members of the Glazer family, which owns United, will attend.
First bids are not thought to have met the Glazers’ valuation of the club, which is reported to be around the £6bn mark, although this was not expected.
Raine invited bids for control of the club and for investment in return for a partial stake. Sportsmail revealed that a bid would be forthcoming from Qatar.
Sheikh Jassim, a longstanding United fan, later said he would wipe out the club’s debt and aim to return it to former glories.