Manchester United (NYSE: MANU) could receive a takeover bid from a Qatari investment group within days, according to British tabloid reports on Wednesday.
MANU shares soared +13.5% in premarket trading after speculation.
The Glazer family, which also owns The Tampa Bay Buccaneers said they are exploring strategic alternatives, but an outright sale seems most likely. The price tag is speculated to be more than $6 billion for one of the world’s most famous soccer teams.
The Qatari group would also be willing to support current manager Erik ten Hag with a large fund of money to buy new players, writes the Daily Mail. But while fans have consistently protested Glazer’s ownership and the family’s transfer of debt to the club, the controversy (expressed during the World Cup) over human rights in Qatar could spark even more backlash.
Another Middle Eastern acquisition would also raise eyebrows after local rivals Manchester City this week faced allegations of years of breaching financial fair play rules.
The new owners would not only be expected to put in the transfer money, but also to renovate the famous Old Trafford stadium, which fell into disrepair under Glazer’s ownership, with facilities lagging behind those of their Premier League rivals.
Manchester United fan Jim Ratcliffe’s chemical company INEOS has also made a bid for United.